Tag Archives: Laura Sassi

Happy Birthday, Christmas Child by Laura Sassi, Interviews by Kathy and Molly

Laura Sassi has been reading and writing stories and poems since she was a child. When she grew up, she became a teacher, and guess what subjects she loved best. That’s right—reading and writing! Her many books share messages of kindness, comfort, and faith with children and their families. Today Molly and I are happy to welcome Laura, along with her cockapoo, Sophie, to tell us all about their newest release, Happy Birthday, Christmas Child, A Counting Nativity Book.

Kathy’s Interview with Laura

First, I’m going to ask Laura to tell us 5 special things about herself. Then Molly and Sophie will woof about Happy Birthday Christmas Child. Translation to human provided, of course!

Kathy: Are you ready, Laura?

Laura: Yes, thank you. 

 Kathy: What is a favorite memory from your childhood?

Laura: Since we are talking about books, I would say one of my favorite memories is reading with my mom when I was the age of the readers of my books. We read aloud together everyday and not just at bedtime. Books were always around and we picked them up and enjoyed them often.

 Kathy: Your Mom gave you a very special treasure, indeed! Do you have a favorite place to read and/or write?

Laura: My favorite summer and fall writing spot is out on my front porch. In fact, that’s where I am writing right now and Sophie is right here beside me, keeping me on task. When the weather turns wintry, I like to sit at my desk in our foyer or in a cozy chair in our living room. 

 Kathy: Writing on your porch or from a cozy chair sounds delightful! Where did you get the idea to write Happy Birthday, Christmas Child?

Laura: The story is inspired by a favorite Christmas verse in the Gospel of Luke that describes Marys soul-filling wonder as the events surrounding the birth of Baby Jesus unfolded. It reads, “But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart” (Luke 2:19, ESV).  Likewise, I hope this simple counting story of the night Jesus was born will encourage littlest readers and their caregivers to slow down and explore and count and marvel on each and every spread. I hope readers will find the story soul-filling and fun in a joyful Christmas way.

Kathy: Slowing down to marvel at the wonder of Christ’s birth is so important, and I think Happy Birthday, Christmas Child will help children do just that! What is a favorite Christmas tradition in your family?

Laura: I asked my daughter to chime in on this one since I couldn’t decide. She said two things: decorating the Christmas tree (which involves much singing and reminiscing) and opening presents all together as a family Christmas morning. I wholeheartedly agree.

Kathy: I enjoy those traditions, too! What do you like best about school visits?

Laura: Oh, my goodness, I love everything about school visits. I used to be a teacher and there’s nothing like interacting with children using  a good book as the conversation spark. But if I had to pick one thing, I would say that my favorite part is the Q&A when we really get to interact.  I’m always impressed by the thoughtful (and sometimes humorous) questions children ask and the insightful observations they make. 

Kathy: As a teacher, I understand—children’s questions are so much fun! Thank you, Laura!

Okay the ball’s in your corner, Molly and Sophie. Go fetch it!

Molly’s Interview with Sophie

Molly: Whenever Kathy writes something, I feel a part of the project. I’m especially good at encouraging her to take breaks. I think it makes her a better writer, so I sit and stare up at her until she takes me for a walk! Sophie, what are some ways you help Laura with her writing?

Sophie: Funny you should ask. Laura recently shared about this on her Facebook Author Page as part of #FridayIntroductions Pet Edition! This is what she said: 

“Meet Sophie, adorable assistant to the author. Sophie enjoys curling up beside the author during work hours. She also enjoys reading, assisting with bookish photo shoots, delivering books to Little Free Libraries and more. Her favorite foods are kibbles and bunny poop (which we were sure she would outgrow, but she hasnt ). Her favorite Laura Sassi book?  Hmmm… not sure but maybe Bunny Finds Easter – because of her dietary tastes? In any event, she is delighted to meet you and hopes you will check out our books!”

Woof, that pretty much sums it up, with one exception. I would say that my new favorite book is actually her newest Happy Birthday Christmas Child because it’s about two of my favorite things:  Jesus and birthdays!

Molly: How about that! I help with bookish photo shoots, too, and Kathy also gets a little upset about some of my dietary choices. It sounds like you know all about Laura’s newest book, Happy Birthday, Christmas Child. Can you tell us about it?

Sophie: Yep, like I said it’s about a very special birthday – Jesus’s! It’s told in counting rhyme.  If you can count to ten, you can help tell the story! If you can’t yet count, this book is a fun way to learn.

 Molly:  I love stories of Jesus’s birthday! Who are some of your favorite characters in the story?

Sophie: Mary and Joseph and Baby Jesus are my favorite human characters.  I also love the spiders – all six of them!

 Molly: Wow, six spiders! God’s creatures are so interesting! God has given us dogs great hearing, and we love to listen. Does Laura sometimes read aloud to you and try out rhymes?

Sophie: Yes. I’m one of her most dependable listeners because I am always by her side.

 Molly:  We dogs are also known for our loyalty! How do you let her know when a rhyme is just right?

Sophie: I wag my tail!

 Molly: Well, you must be wagging a lot, because Laura writes such good rhymes! Do you know how to count, Sophie? Puppy kindergarten didn’t teach me, but I think children love to count. What are a few things they’ll count in Happy Birthday, Christmas Child?

Sophie: There are lots of fun things to count in the book.  My favorites are the spiders, the mice and the stars.

 Molly: Spiders and mice and stars, oh my! What fun!  Sophie, I like to use my nose to check out the presents under the Christmas tree. Do you? Kathy says children don’t use their noses as much. Instead, they love to look at pictures and point to things they find. What are some things children will enjoy finding in Happy Birthday, Christmas Child?

Sophie: Spiders, mice, bales of hay, lanterns, stars and so much more! You can catch a glimpse of them in this book trailer:

 Molly: Your book trailer is great! You know, we dogs don’t see as many colors as people, but I bet you still have some favorite illustrations.

Sophie: I love all the illustrations, but here’s one of my favorites.  I love how it shows that even though there was no room at the inn, the stable animals welcomed Mary and Joseph in.  And you know what, I’d welcome them into my dog crate too!

Molly:  I would, too, Sophie! What are Laura’s and your hopes for what children and their families will enjoy learning from Happy Birthday, Christmas Child?

Sophie: Laura already stated this in her part of the interview, but I know what her greatest hope is. It’s that the book will help children and their families pause to count and look and wonder and marvel at the real gift of Christmas —JESUS!

Molly: I know it will, Sophie ! I’ve really enjoyed woofing with you about Happy Birthday, Christmas Child. I love that God sent His son to be born in a stable with lots of creatures like us around. I hope someday we can share a bone. Well . . . maybe we can each have our own. God gave us dogs lots of skills, but sharing is something children do a lot better than us!

Sophie: Woof… it’s okay. I’m on a very strict diet, so I’d be happy to instead share a game. Fetch, perhaps?

Molly: Count me in! I love fetch and you and I are about the same size, so we’d be a good team!

Kathy and Molly: Hugs and woofs to you, Laura and Sophie, for sharing with us about your very special new book, Happy Birthday, Christmas Child, A Counting Nativity Book! Molly and I know children and their families will love sharing its colorful illustrations and beautiful message!

Where You Can Find Happy Birthday, Christmas Child

Kathy and Molly:  Where can our readers buy Happy Birthday, Christmas Child?

Laura and Sophie: It’s available wherever books are sold! If you place a pre-order before October 4th, be sure to visit the book’s landing page at  https://happybirthdaychristmaschild.com to get your own activity kit that goes with the book!

Kathy and Molly: That’s terrific! Activity kits are so much fun! And, Readers, you can learn lots more about Laura Sassi and all her terrific books on her website, Laura Sassi Tales!

Before You Go

Molly and I have enjoyed learning about all these special children’s books this past month, and we hope you have, too! Our newsletter next week will recap all 6 books, so you can review them all in one place. And we’ll tell you about an amazing museum you won’t want to miss!

So be sure to sign up for our newsletter. You’ll also receive a free guide to 5 Ways Art Benefits Children’s Cognitive, Physical, Spiritual, and Social Development, with a Few Fun and Easy Activities for each Benefit. 

In October we’ll be back to our regular schedule with activities and devotions centered around an art masterpiece. We hope you’ll join us!

You may also visit our website where you’ll find free downloadable puzzles, how-to-draw pages, coloring pages for kids, and an updated list of my hands

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Interview with Laura Sassi about Her New Children’s Book Bunny Finds Easter

Molly the Artsy Corgi and I would like to welcome back children’s author, Laura Sassi. Bunny, the main character in Laura’s new board book, Bunny Finds Easter, has also come along to help answer some questions and show you a cute craft.

Laura, let’s let Molly and Bunny talk a little and show the craft, and then you and I can finish up the interview.

Molly:  I love your Easter hat, Bunny. Did you pick out the ribbon and flowers?

Bunny: Yes, and I wanted the ribbon to go under my chin so it would stay on. My favorite part, though, is that there are two holes for my ears.

Molly:  Oh, wow, my ears aren’t as long as yours, but I need a hat like that, too! Tell me, Bunny, do bunnies really like carrots?

Bunny: Of course! They are crunchy and colorful and full of vitamins!

Molly:  I like the crunchy part best! I’ve never been on an Easter egg hunt, Bunny, but I think I’d be really good because of my super powerful nose. Would you please tell our readers what you do on an egg hunt.

Bunny: It’s just like it sounds. An Easter egg hunt is when you go on a hunt and look for eggs! Sometimes the eggs are real eggs- but colored. Other times the eggs have surprises inside them like chocolate and jelly beans!

Molly: That sounds fun and yummy. I want to have an egg hunt this Easter! What other things do you do on Easter?

Bunny: At our house, we bake Easter treats like hot cross buns and we decorate Easter eggs. We also get dressed up and hop to church!  Can you spot the church?  (HINT: It’s on the cover of the book.)

Molly:  I did see the church. It’s very pretty. I really like Ella’s illustrations. They make me want to jump into your story and go to church with you! Everything sounds like so much fun, but when did you find out that Easter is really all about Jesus and His resurrection?

Bunny: I learned about Jesus and His resurrection at church.  And do you know when I first heard the good news of Easter? It was when we were singing! Singing hymns is a great way to learn about Jesus and His gift of forgiveness and new life.

Molly:  Singing is a wonderful way to learn about Jesus. Let’s show children another super cute way to learn about Jesus and His resurrection!

Bunny: That’s sound like a hopping fun idea!

Supplies and Directions for Bunny Craft

Supplies:

  • small flower pot
  • pink acrylic paint
  • cardstock or art foam in pinks and flowery colors
  • Wiggly eyes
  • Pink pompom
  • Glue gun, markers

Here are the directions:

  1. Paint the flower pot pink
  2. Draw and cut out ears, flowers, and a bow
  3. Tuck ears into flower pot , add flowers to the rim, and glue in place
  4. Draw mouth with marker
  5. Glue eyes and pompom nose in place (get help from parents or grandparents to use a glue gun)
  6. Fill with plastic Easter eggs. Some of these could contain jelly beans but others may contain paper slips with written items to teach about Jesus and Easter or the items from Resurrection eggs.

Molly: Do you think it looks a little like you, Bunny?

Bunny: Yes, in PINK!

Kathy: while Molly and Bunny munch on a few jelly beans, can you tell us where you got the idea for Bunny Finds Easter, Laura?

Laura: As a young child I was confused about what we were celebrating at Easter. I loved coloring Easter eggs and hunting for jelly beans, but it wasn’t until I was a tween that I made the connection that Easter is when we celebrate Jesus’s resurrection. Inspired by that memory, I decided to write a board book for preschoolers and toddlers that would celebrate those fun Easter traditions and, at the same time, serve as an introduction to the real gift of Easter – Jesus! I decided that an engaging way to do this was through the eyes of a sweet bouncy protagonist named Bunny who wakes up Easter morning determined find out what Easter is all about.

Kathy:  What a wonderful way to help little ones learn about Easter! Molly and I love to snuggle to read cute board books and look at the pictures together. Do you have some suggestions for how parents and grandparents can use Bunny Finds Easter to tell children about Jesus and His resurrection?

Laura:  Yes. First of all just enjoy the story with your little ones. Sniff along with Bunny as she sniffs those hot cross buns and hunt for the fun things she encounters along the way – like Easter lilies and baby animals and colorful eggs and Easter candies.

  • As you are reading, after thoroughly investigating each spread, ask your child, “Are these (insert items) what Easter is all about?  The answer is no, but maybe they are a clue as to what Easter is all about.
  • When you reach that final spread, celebrate together that JESUS is what Easter is all about.  Maybe even say his name together and rejoice that He is Risen!
  • Afterwards, you can review the message of the story by re-examining the items found in the story to see how each reminds us of Easter and God’s love.  Examples: Chocolate bunnies and jelly beans are sweet – like God.  The cross on the hot-cross bun is like the Cross at Easter.  The Easter bonnet – is joyful – just the way we feel on Easter as we celebrate Jesus’ resurrection…and so forth.

Kathy:  Molly and I love those ideas! Where can our readers find Bunny Finds Easter?

Laura: The book is available at bookstores everywhere. If your local indie doesn’t yet have it, you can request it. I would also LOVE it if you recommended it for purchase at your church or preschool library, as well as your town library.  That way it can serve as an engaging introduction to Easter to even more children.

Thank you, Laura and Bunny for visiting our blog today to tell us all about your newest book, Bunny Finds Easter!

Have a joyful Easter Everyone!