Hi Laura! Congrats on the release of THE GINGERBREAD MAN LOOSE AT CHRISTMAS. I love the themes of respect and giving that run throughout this story. All of the THINK QUICK themes below appear in your book. Let’s see which way you lean. Remember, THINK QUICK!
Homemade Presents or Store Bought?
I have found through the years that the most meaningful gifts I personally have received are notes, crafts, and things that my students, their parents, my own children and family, and friends have written or made. I value these gifts because they are personal, thoughtful, and they also represent a gift of “time to create” on the giver’s part. My children and I also love to give homemade gifts, especially around the holidays, and especially as a surprise to folks who don’t expect them – like our postal carrier, our trash collectors, our check- out person at the grocery, etc. – their surprised faces make our day too! I think I leaned on this theme in The Gingerbread Man Loose at Christmas, because my children discovered that giving these type of simple gifts made them just as happy as the receiver – it is so much fun!
On Small Acts of Kindness:
Start young or wait?
Start young, but you’re never too old to start!
On Creating with Children:
More glitter or less?
Sparkly creations are just fun. A mess is often the sign of a good time, and also a sign of curiosity and creativity. And the children can have just as much fun cleaning up, if it’s made into a game.
On Catching the Gingerbread Man:
Make him a friend or eat him all up?
I have to admit that I love a warm Gingerbread Man cookie with icing. But it always bothered me as a child that the Gingerbread Man character in the original story gets eaten by a fox at the end (even though the original GB Man is a bit sassy.) So when I decided to write the first book in the GB Man series, The Gingerbread Man Loose at School, I decided to change things up a bit, starting with my GB Man’s personality and the ending.So I think I’d choose – make him a friend.
Love it or leave it?
Snow with kids is fun! So if my kids and I can stay home and enjoy it – love it! My feet don’t get mushy like the Gingerbread Man’s but they do get crazy cold, so when we lived in Canada for a little while, I had to get very good boots.
Old traditions or new ones?
Both, absolutely! I love to carry on old traditions from when I was a kid, but I love to start new ones with my own children too. My mom gave me an ornament each year when I was growing up so that I would have several personal ornaments with memories attached when I moved out and started putting up my own Christmas tree. I have carried on this tradition with my own kids. One of our new traditions involves the surprise homemade gifts I mentioned in the first paragraph – we love it because it helps our children to think about others who may not get appreciation or thanks for all that they do for us. And it can be as simple as a card or a compliment – try it and just watch the faces of those you surprise!
On Kissing a Cookie:
Just a small peck or grab a bite while you can?
Hmmm… if it’s a cookie we bake – and who doesn’t jump off the pan – then a bite is irresistible! If it’s a cookie that decides to tell a story – then a sweet smooch would be in order.
On Teaching Gratitude:
Work Together or make it personal?
For young children, it is always fun to work on ideas in a group. But the more specific and personal we make a gift, the more meaningful it can be. For instance, a compliment or note to a teacher telling them what your child loves about their teaching/classroom, or how they have helped your child to grow, is SO wonderful!I still have notes from parents and students like this, which I kept over the years because they meant so much to me.
On Fractured Fairy Tales:
Keep some things consistent or change it all up?
Both – Keep some things consistent so they are familiar to readers. And then ask “What if…’this’ happened instead?” to change things up and make the story fresh.
The Gingerbread Man Loose at Christmas or The Gingerbread Man Loose at Christmas?
Since I seem to lean towards the “both” answer a lot in the above questions, I think I’ll just keep my streak going and say… both!
Thanks for THINKing QUICK with us, Laura! Penguin Books for Young Readers is offering a giveaway of The Gingerbread Man Loose at Christmas along with a whole batch of cookie related books! To enter, visit HERE.
Click HERE for a review of THE GINGERBREAD MAN LOOSE AT CHRISTMAS.
(Review by Carrie Charley Brown)
Laura Murray was a teacher before becoming an author. She’s had fun trying to find many an escaped Gingerbread Man in her time. She is the author of THE GINGERBREAD MAN LOOSE IN THE SCHOOL, and the Gingerbread Man's continuing school adventures - THE GINGERBREAD MAN LOOSE ON THE FIRE TRUCK, THE GINGERBREAD MAN LOOSE AT CHRISTMAS, and THE GINGERBREAD MAN LOOSE AT THE ZOO (2016).
Laura lives with her family in northern Virginia. Visit her on Twitter at @LauraMurrayBook or www.LauraMurrayBooks.com for loads of fun activities and lessons, standards-linked teacher's guides, as well as information on school author presentations.