Pooka & Bunni: Interview with Jennifer Zivoin

Siblings can have complex relationships. They love each other, but sometimes they irritate each other, too. Pooka & Bunni explores the bond between sisters and how a big sister can still learn something new from her little sister. Here's an interview with the author and illustrator of Pooka & Bunni, Jennifer Zivoin, about how she created this book and other titles for Magination Press. Magination Press: What was the inspiration for Pooka and Bunni? Jennifer Zivoin: Pooka & Bunni was inspired by my daughters, who were ages 4 and 8 when I wrote the book.  I was actually working on a completely different manuscript which was just not coming together.  Then, one day while my older daughter Olivia was at school, my younger daughter Elyse started playing with Olivia’s Lego creation and broke it.  She tried to put it back together, but when Olivia came home, she could definitely tell that all was NOT as she had left it!  This sort of scene would play out in my house almost every day:  Elyse idolizes and loves her big sister, and Olivia is loving and inclusive to her sister, but sometimes the age gap creates conflict. MP: Do you have a sister or brother? JZ: Yes, I have a younger sister AND a younger brother! MP: Pooka & Bunni is the first book you’ve written and illustrated. How was that different from illustrating a book that someone else has written? JZ: When I illustrate a book by another author, the framework for the story is already there.  My job as an illustrator is to add to the storytelling through imagery. However, with Pooka & Bunni, I created this book the exact opposite way of how a book by another author would come together. I think in pictures, so instead of the text coming first, I illustrated the entire book without words. Then, I wrote the text for the pages to fill in any gaps in the storytelling.   MP: What was the hardest part of making Pooka & Bunni? What was the most fun? JZ: The hardest part of creating Pooka & Bunni was coming up with the designs for the characters. Pooka and Bunni are based on my own children, but they also had to be their own unique selves as characters, and their looks and designs had to reflect that. In early sketches, Pooka and Bunni were going to be rabbits, but I just could not get their personalities to shine through, and they kept looking like animal caricatures of my daughters. Then, once I threw all structure out the window and went with monsters, that is when the character designs finally started to take shape. Monsters could move and look however I wanted, and so their designs became all about communicating Pooka and Bunni’s feelings and personalities. You can tell just by looking at them what is going on inside of their heads. That was the most fun—drawing the characters in their many poses and expressions! Every time

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Pooka & Bunni: Interview with Jennifer Zivoin 2020-11-04T13:18:30-05:00

The Heart of Mi Familia

In my home, two worlds become one. My family is a mix of dos culturas, I am bicultural. Mommy's family came from Europe, a long time ago. Daddy's family came from Central America when he was a little boy. There are lots of differences between my mommy’s culture and my daddy’s cultura, but lots of things are the same too. Visiting both her grandma and her abeula, a little girl creates a birthday present for her brother that celebrates both sides of her family and all generations. The Heart of Mi Familia is a follow-up book to Marvelous Maravilloso: Me and My Beautiful Family. Hear author Carrie Lara, PsyD, read The Heart of Mi Familia aloud and offer some ideas for activities to explore family identity.

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The Heart of Mi Familia 2020-10-20T14:48:51-04:00

You Can’t Always Get What You Want, and That’s Okay

Young children go through many, sometimes challenging, developmental phases. Magination Press’s Big Little Talks series by Alberto Pellai, MD, PhD, and Barbara Tamborini, provide fun stories to ease both parents and children through typical and common life stages using empathic listening and encouraging an understanding of age-appropriate behavior and emotions. I Want Everything! explores a preschooler’s belief in his omnipotence--that things should be exactly the way he wants them to be--and his parent’s kind and firm response. This is an excerpt from the Reader’s Note at the end of the book, that explores strategies parents can use to help their young children build tolerance for frustration and regulate their emotions. Remain Calm It is important that the adult remains calm, gives the child time to let the emotions flow, and remains in sight, even if at a distance. It’s easy to get frustrated, but the adult is the one who needs to calm the situation. Children take their cues from us; we have to set a good example. Set Firm Limits The challenge for the parent is to be able to say “no” firmly and calmly, and to stick to it. True freedom and healthy emotional development come from the ability to tolerate frustrations, to learn to negotiate and to see more than just their own vision of the world. Better to limit yourself to a few rules that you are strict about than to have too many that you can’t always enforce. Prepare in Advance You know your children best. You know what they like to do and when they find it more difficult to follow the rules. You know when they are more likely to break down. Establishing firm routines ahead of time is one of the best ways to prevent tantrums before they begin. For example, if your child often throws a tantrum about having to sit at the dinner table, establish expectation ahead of time, “You have to sit at least ten minutes.” Help Them Find Calm It’s nearly impossible for a child to absorb any new information when they are in the middle of a tantrum, so try practicing the calming strategies when they are already calm. That way they have a better chance of retaining them and are more likely to be able to use them when they are upset.  Validate Their Achievements  Rules must be few and logical, and make space for a reward. A child is more likely to respect rules and follow them if they are consistently enforced and open a possibility for reward. For example, “As long as you put them away after, you can play with all the games you want.” This excerpt if from the Note to Readers from I Want Everything! To learn about ways to help your child learn calming strategies, check out posts about practicing mindfulness.

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You Can’t Always Get What You Want, and That’s Okay 2020-10-14T20:51:34-04:00