Creating The Find Out Files My Sibling: Interview with the Author

In the last of four interviews Isabelle Filliozat, French parenting expert, talks about her book, My Sibling.  My Sibling is part of The Find Out Files, a series of activity books that explores feelings and relationships. You can also read her interviews about My Emotions, My Anger, and My Fears. Here's what Ms. Filliozat has to say about creating My Siblings: Magination Press: Why did you decide to include a book about siblings in The Find Out Files? Isabelle Filliozat: Do you really have to ask the question? Isn’t it the most difficult topic the parents face? It was the most complicated issue for me with my children. So hard! We hate to see our children fight, but behind those fights are emotions. If we parents learn to hear these emotions, fights lessen. Small fights are natural between siblings, but children need tools to help them deal with conflict so that they don’t harm themselves physically or emotionally.  MP: Why did you choose a cat as the animal guide for My Sibling? IF: Cats are very cute and friendly. They come to be petted, but they have their independence. And as with your siblings, you never know if he wants to cuddle or fight. While kittens fight a lot with each other, they never harm themselves, but they practice fighting with one another so that they will be strong with strangers. Kittens cuddle a lot. They go underneath one another, on top, any position…I love the game “kitten basket” where all the family piles on each other, pretending to be kittens in a basket. There’s so much contact. You end up laughing and charged with oxytocin! MP: In My Sibling, you explain how birth order affects how families interact. You explore what it feels like to be a first child or a younger child. What kinds of unique experiences do middle and youngest children have? IF: I didn't have room to explore all positions in detail, but the idea is to think about the impact of the environment on development of temperament. When you are in the middle…well, you are in the middle…so you neither get the advantages of the eldest, nor of the youngest. And also you are older than one, and younger than another. So it’s a mix of the positions. It’s of course different when you are in the middle of three kids or in the middle of five, and when the gap between each is one or six years. So many situations and recompositions nowadays add complexity. The idea of the book is not to trap a child in a definition, but to help him think about the experience one is living. MP: What about twins or multiples? They have to share their parents from the beginning, and people frequently compare them. What kind of experiences do they have as siblings? IF: Yes, every situation is particular. That is what we have to realize. A baby doesn’t grow alone in a desert, he builds himself

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Creating The Find Out Files My Sibling: Interview with the Author 2020-09-29T15:39:42-04:00

You’ll Find Me: Interview with Amanda Rawson Hill

Life is filled with change and, sometimes, loss. Children experiencing loss and grief may need help to know that they are not alone and that memories can comfort them. Amanda Rawson Hill wrote You'll Find Me for just that reason. Here's an interview with her about creating the book. Magination Press: What inspired you to write You’ll Find Me? Amanda Rawson Hill: I wrote You’ll Find Me about eight months after my brother-in-law died of cancer. His daughter was three at the time, and she came to visit for the week. A day or two into the visit, she found a picture of her dad and carried it everywhere with her. After she left, I was stripping the sheets on her bed and found the picture under the covers. I got teary thinking about how she’d found her dad and then the text just came to me in a rush. I ran to get a pencil and paper and wrote the first draft in about 30 minutes. MP: Why do children need books about loss? ARH: Children need books about loss to know that they aren’t alone, and that it will be okay. They need someone to tell them that this big, scary thing isn’t the end of the world. And often after a huge loss, the most important adults in their life are also in a profound state of grief which can make it very hard to effectively talk to the child about loss and help them process it. Loss is part of life, and books tell children that in a way that is still hopeful and gentle. MP: Some people might interpret your story to be about coping with the death of a loved one. Did you intend it that way or did you intend to address a wider kind of loss? ARH: The journey of this book has been very interesting. When I originally wrote it, I was actually intending it to be a pre-grief text: something a family would read when a parent or grandparent was in the process of dying. Something to help them say goodbye. It also worked very well as a grief book after the fact as well, so we figured we’d market it as both. But after I saw Joanne’s illustrations, I was struck by how much they changed the tone of the story. The pictures really softened and universalized the text so that it could be whatever a child needed it to be. So we tweaked two sentences in the text to give it a broader audience beyond just loss. Now I see it as a book to help children through any kind of separation. Short term, long term, etc.  MP: Children have experienced new kinds of losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic including the loss of going to school, playing with friends, or participating in favorite activities like sports, art classes, or playing in the band. How do you think You’ll Find Me might be especially helpful in this situation?

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You’ll Find Me: Interview with Amanda Rawson Hill 2020-09-23T22:28:35-04:00

Making The Find Out Files My Anger: Interview With the Authors

Magination Press’s new series of activity books, The Find Out Files, help kids explore emotions and relationships. Magination Press interviewed authors, Isabelle Filliozat and Virginie Limousin, about creating My Anger, one of the books in The Find Out Files. Magination Press: In another Find Out Files book, My Emotions, you identified seven different emotions to explore. Why did you decide to write a whole book about anger? Isabelle Filliozat: We wanted one on each and every emotion. Anger was the first, because it’s the first thing parents are concerned about and we wanted to arm parents with empathy rather than unhelpful responses when their child gets angry or has a tantrum. People tend to have a moral judgement about anger, because many confuse it with violence or a power play.  Virginie Limousin:  Children are immature and often respond with tantrums that are often misinterpreted by adults, who may respond clumsily. Parents may find themselves overwhelmed by their own emotional reactions. So this book provides parents with an understanding of anger (provides a certain emotional literacy to anger). The idea of the activity book is both simple explanations of anger—this natural physiological reaction of our body—and easy techniques for children to tame this emotion while allowing them to express it because it is very useful in our lives. MP: Why did you choose Parrot to be the animal guide for My Anger? VL & IF: There is the parrot and the professor Angrius to give information. The parrot is coming from the air, he is non judgemental. Professor Angrius (Colérius) is the main guide throughout the find out file. He is small and has hair like Einstein’s and wears large glasses to suggest he has read books and knows a lot. The parrot is one of his collaborators.  The parrot has worked with him for so long that he can repeat everything the Professor has discovered during his research ;-) MP: Tell us about the oxygen cloud elevator tool. What inspired it?  VL: Anger is an emotion that can be difficult to regulate. Sometimes it makes us want to hit, throw, or scream. Focusing a few moments on our breathing allows us to oxygenate our brain and not react impulsively. An emotion is like a cloud passing in the sky, it is temporary. And just as we contemplate the clouds, we need to be able to observe our emotion to understand what they are telling us.  MP: You include lots of activities in the book: crafts, quizzes, drawing opportunities. Why did you incorporate stickers in all The Find Out Files books? IF: We wanted to get children as active as possible and offer them fun tools. Children learn when they are enthusiastic and feel in control of their learning. Most children love stickers. And those are colorful and fun. We wanted children to be able to associate anger with love, colors, and fun, so that they stop thinking it is a bad emotion and can make friends with it. What

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Making The Find Out Files My Anger: Interview With the Authors 2020-09-22T17:32:54-04:00