Interview Kathleen Cherry Author of Blowing Bubbles, Picture Book on Aging and Illness

Interview Kathleen Cherry Author of Blowing Bubbles, Picture Book on Aging and Illness

Special Needs Book Review is pleased to introduce our readers to a Canadian author from British Columbia. Not only that, her illustrator is the award-winning Canadian illustrator, Jill Quinn Babcock from Dartmouth, in our own province of Nova Scotia. Together they have crafted an adorable children’s picture book, Blowing Bubbles to help children cope with the changes in a loved one due to illness and aging. See Kathleen Cherry’s guest post introducing her book.

Prior to publication, Blowing Bubbles  finalized in 2006 and 2009 in The Writers’ Union of Canada Writing for Children Competition!

Lorna: Congratulations on your much needed children’s book, Blowing Bubbles. I am sure parents, other caregivers, and teachers will find sharing Blowing Bubbles with their child or students is a great way to open up a dialogue about death, aging, illness or change in the lives of a loved one due to illness or aging. Tell us why you felt a children’s book on this topic was needed. What are the comments you received  about your book that have made all the work

<<Kathleen Cherry: Thank you. I found that there were many great resources around death and also mental decline, typical with Alzheimer’s. However, I did not find many which addressed how physical change can impact a relationship and how one can reconnect and still find the joy in that relationship.

This process has not been easy and has involved a number of frustrations and disappointments. However, there have also been joys. One of these was learning that I was the April staff pick by Helen Wilding Cook, the Children’s Collection Development Co-ordinator at Library Bound Inc. I was particularly delighted with her phrase “This is a perfect little nugget of literature that will speak to kids.” 

I also had a truly joyous afternoon at one of my wonderful schools when I read the story to the children. Several teachers had put so much work into it and had made rice crispies and handed out bubble gum. The children’s questions were wonderful and I would love to have the opportunity to read to more classes and library groups.

I have also appreciated the ‘grassroots reviews’ which have come via Good Reads and would love to receive more. >>

Lorna: How did you find Jill Quinn Babcock from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia to be your illustrator? She surely brings your characters to life!

<< Kathleen Cherry: I was presented with several possible illustrators by my publisher and I absolutely adored Jill’s work. I am a huge fan of water colors and the type of realistic look that Jill presents.>>

Picture Book Helps Children Cope with Illness and Aging: Blowing Bubbles by Kathleen CherryLorna: In a press release about Blowing Bubbles  I read you are an elementary school counselor and you use books in your work. What are some children’s books you use? Do you have advice for parents on how to use books with their children to get a conversation started on a difficult topic they want to discuss with their child?

<< Kathleen Cherry: First and foremost, make sure any book read to a child has that ‘kid appeal’ factor. No child wants a lecture. Secondly, there is seldom a ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to feel about a subject. It is possible that a child does not have the feelings or reactions that a parent anticipates or that are presented in the book.  We never want to send the message that they ‘should’ feel a certain way but rather open the door to discussion and the exploration of feelings in a non-threatening way. Depending on the age of the child, one can also discus how different ‘stuffies’ or friends feel.>>

Lorna: On your web site you have an interesting quote, “A library is a hospital for the mind. “-Anonymous  You are currently pursuing a doctorate degree in counselling psychology  through Walden University headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  I read you are very interested in bibliotherapy. Please tell us what is bibliotherapy.

<< Kathleen Cherry: I am learning so much about bibliotherapy and I could likely ramble on for pages and pages. It is not a new concept. The Ancient Greeks called libraries a “healing place for the soul” and  Plato extolled the value of literature.

Bibliotherapy is the  therapeutic use of the written word. Clinical Bibliotherapy is used by doctors and mental health practitioners with persons on emotional and behavioral problems. Developmental Bibliotherapy is used with a wide variety of individuals in schools and libraries. One can further categorize this into the self-help type of bibliotherapy and the fiction/literary type.

Bibliotherapy is particularly strong in the U.K. As of June, 2013, British citizens can fill their prescription from their G.P. at the local library.

This new English scheme has its own  website (www.booksonprescription.org.uk/.) and the backing of the Royal Colleges of General Practitioners, Nursing and Psychiatrists, the British Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Psychotherapies and the Department of Health through its Improving Access to Psychological Therapies Programme.

I am currently debating using my interest in bibliotherapy as a focus for my doctoral research. >>

Lorna: You work with students all the time and can observe what helps them out. Please tell us the role of exercise in enabling children to function better in school.

<< Kathleen Cherry: The role of exercise in self-regulation is another of my interests and a contender for the doctoral thesis. I personally run and do yoga most days and find this very helpful. I have also run yoga groups with children. This year one of my schools began a program where the entire school would start off each day in the gym with ‘zumba’ or some other form of exercise. I believe exercise helps children to better cope with stress and enables them to better function during the day. >>

Lorna: Thank you so much for your detailed guest post and now for this interview.

<< Kathleen Cherry: Thank you for including me on your website and for all you do to help children and their families. >>

NOTE: We are updating this post: December 2nd 2016

School Visits and Workshops

Kathleen is happy to provide presentations for any age group and is willing to do as many as four workshops in a day.

Kathleen’s presentations are described on her web site.A True Friend with Autism in Tween Novel - Everyday Hero by Kathleen Cherry

Follow Kathleen Cherry:

Read Also:

Buy books by Kathleen Cherry:

  •  Picture Book Helps Children Cope with Illness and Aging: Blowing Bubbles Amazon.ca and Amazon.com

This post was written by Lorna
Lorna d’Entremont: Co-owner of SentioLife Solutions, Ltd. the company behind KidCompanions Chewelry (2007) and SentioCHEWS (2013), mother of three, grandma of 5 and wife. She is a retired teacher and special needs advocate. Throughout she has taught all levels from grade 2 to grade 9. Lorna loved teaching and enjoyed seeing the students progress in the school system. During her 30 year career she took a few years off to raise her three children.
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