Hi Math is Everywhere Readers,
We have an extra special guest today to help us get the new year started off right, author and internationally acclaimed speaker, Trudy Ludwig.
When I read The Invisible Boy for the first time last year, I immediately fell head-over-heels for this picture book. I wanted to share it with my daughter to build her empathy for others and help her see how important everyone’s actions can be, no matter how small. This—and all of Trudy’s books—are stories that I believe every child should experience, and I hope you share with all the kids in your life, too. Make sure to stay tuned until the end to find out how to get in on the giveaway for a copy of your own Trudy Ludwig book.
Trudy’s Bio –
Trudy Ludwig is an acclaimed speaker and award-winning author of 10 children’s books including The Invisible Boy, a School Library Journal Best Picture Books Selection and and a recommended back-to-school book by USA Today and Scholastic Instructor. Her work helps to empower children to be kinder and more compassionate in their social world. Trudy has collaborated with leading experts and organizations including Sesame Workshop, Committee for Children, and ConnectSafely.org. Trudy’s next book, THE POWER OF ONE: Every Act of Kindness Counts (Alfred A. Knopf/ Random House Children’s Books) will be released in summer 2020.
Kaitlyn: Thank you so much Trudy for joining me today on the Math is Everywhere blog and for helping so many people with your beautiful words.
Trudy: It is truly my pleasure, Kaitlyn. Thank you for interviewing me!
Kaitlyn: You’re so sweet. Okay, first, can you share with us your inspiration for writing The Invisible Boy?
Trudy: Social exclusion is a topic I’ve personally thought a lot about and researched before writing The Invisible Boy. As thinking, feeling, and social beings, we humans have a fundamental need to belong and feel connected with and valued by our peers. Unfortunately, social exclusion is something most of us experience at some point in our lives. I wanted to write a story that captures this sense of invisibility and how distressing and problematic it can be–especially for children who are on the receiving end. At the same time, I also wanted to show how simple acts of kindness and inclusion can transform lives in positive ways. Kids need to know that they don’t have to be superheroes to be real heroes in the eyes of those they encounter in life. They can simply reach out to others, making them feel valued, included, and appreciated. Also important for kids of all ages to understand is the fact that, while we all may not be “Best Friends Forever,” or even friends at best, we still need to treat one another with civility and respect.
Kaitlyn: I love that! And I totally felt all of those things in the book. Your next picture book The Power of One, Every Act of Kindness Counts, due out in August 2020, shows the math of kindness. From the description, “One kind act begets another, small good deeds make way for bigger ones, and eventually the whole neighborhood comes together to build something much greater than the sum of its parts.” Why do you think this is an important idea to share with young children?
Trudy: I truly believe that one person can be a catalyst for change. The more seeds of kindness each person plants and nurtures, the more likely they’ll take root and spread, modeling for even more people—both old and young—how they can make a positive difference in their own communities and beyond.
Kaitlyn: Yes! The more people who are kind, the more kindness will continue to grow. I notice that all your children’s books focus on tough social-emotional issues that kids face on a daily basis in their lives. Why is that?
Trudy: I am a big advocate of building kids’ social-emotional learning skills to promote empathy and emotional resilience. Many research findings have shown that empathetic children are happier, more emotionally resilient, and successful in life. Numerous researchers have also found that well-written literature is a wonderful supplemental tool for building empathy and perspective in young readers. I believe that the more empathy kids and adults have in their hearts, the less room there is for contempt and disregard for others. Frankly, we can all use a lot more empathy in our world these days!
Kaitlyn: I totally agree. It’s what I adore so much about your books, and why I want to read them all to my daughter. With so many books, I’m in awe of how you continue to come up with new ideas. Can you share with us some of your strategies for coming up with ideas for your books?
Trudy: My story ideas often first come to me in the form of a title that serves as an anchor, so to speak, for what I’m going to write about. In my travels to schools around the country, I also have the opportunity to talk with students, teachers, and counseling professionals who ask me to write about a particular topic or issue that plays out in their school communities on a daily basis.
Kaitlyn: Wow, that’s amazing! What’s your best piece of advice for new writers when they go to speak at schools?
Trudy: I would strongly encourage new writers to sit in on the presentations of other writers hosted at schools. That way, they can observe and learn, firsthand, what makes a presenter more or less engaging for a particular age group. Pay attention to how the speaker manages a large audience while presenting—what works and doesn’t work when it comes to maximizing attention span and minimizing audience distractions. Another helpful tip would be to ask school librarians for their opinions on what makes certain presentations positively memorable.
Kaitlyn: What wonderful advice, I’m totally fangirling, Trudy. Seriously, you are one of my heroes: a powerhouse of a woman, who has speaking engagements, writes, and of course, is a wonderful mom. Do you have any advice for how to balance everything?
Trudy: First of all, thank you for your kind words, Kaitlyn. I’m so grateful to be able to do the work I do! In answer to your question, with over 17 years of writing, presenting, and parenting under my belt, I’ve given up believing that there is such a thing as balance. What has helped me juggle the hats I wear as a mom, writer, and speaker is to focus on progress rather than perfection in whatever I’m doing professionally and personally. I also try not to compare myself to others by regularly reminding myself of Theodore Roosevelt’s wise words: “Comparison is the thief of joy.”
Kaitlyn: I just got the chills. Not striving for perfection and remembering not to compare are things I have to constantly work on. I think I’ll print out that quote for my wall. Finally, if you could spend the day with your favorite author, would you rather go outside and fly a kite or sit by a fire with tea?
Trudy: Oh, I’d definitely sit by a fire with tea! May I also have some peanut butter and chocolate chip cookies to go with that tea?
Kaitlyn: OF COURSE! Cookies are my favorite! In fact, the mantra I live by is “Eat a cookie while you can!” Thank you so much for taking the time to share your insights with us today and for inspiring so many.
Readers, if you’d like to learn more about Trudy, check out her website here.
To connect with Trudy on Twitter https://twitter.com/TrudyLudwig?s=09 (@TrudyLudwig)
To connect with Trudy on Facebook, go here.
Kaitlyn’s Review of The Invisible Boy
I believe empathy comes from seeing others’ perspectives, and this book is one of the most elegant ways to show your child how one person can affect another so completely. I believe all kids should be exposed to this beautiful book. Brian is a quiet, thoughtful child who loves to draw and is constantly left out until a new student comes to school. Justin has a different lunch than most kids, so they make fun of him, but Brian draws him a picture and writes how he thought Justin’s lunch looked yummy. Then he leaves the drawing in Justin’s cubby. Justin finds Brian to thank him before he goes off to play with the other kids. As Justin makes friends, he doesn’t forget about Brian and starts to include him until Brian realizes he may not be invisible after all. If you haven’t read this book, definitely get your hands on a copy and share with everyone you know.
Trudy has generously offered to GIVEAWAY of TWO of her books.
Giveaway #1: a SIGNED copy of The Invisible Boy (US only)
- Comment on this blog post
- Do a library purchase request for any (or all) of Trudy’s books that your library doesn’t currently have (note: all books are listed on the right-hand side of this page) and tell us you did so in a comment on this blog
- Pre-order The Power of One and tell us you did so in a comment on this blog
- Retweet the tweet about this blog interview
Thanks so much for reading and sharing; I hope you enjoyed meeting Trudy and being introduced to some of her wonderful books!
Kaitlyn Leann Sanchez