MOM, DAD, AND EVERYONE ELSE BY DAVID DICKERMAN
1) Please provide a short excerpt of what your children’s book is about
Mom, Dad, and Everyone Else is about a boy whose life is turned upside down when his parents tell him they are getting a divorce. After the initial sadness he discovers something positive and unexpected. As a result of these life changes, he has the opportunity to meet new people and do new things that he would not have been exposed to before.
2) What inspired you to write this book?
This book was part of my graduate thesis on bibliotherapy in relation to divorce. I was tasked to locate a gap in children’s literature, support it, and back up my stance with research. My parents had a very acrimonious divorce, but after the dust settled I had many new enjoyable experiences and relationships that I would not have had if not for the restructuring of my family. I found that most children’s books about divorced only focussed only on the negative and did not accurately convey what I believe is a common story. While not a foregone conclusion, I felt it was important to share my experience as it could help reframe the idea of divorce for children and possibly give them hope where there is often none.
3) How did you come up with the title or series of your book?
Mom, Dad, and Everyone Else conveys the idea that a family is not just a mother and a father, but also everyone else that touches a person’s life. Additionally, children’s worlds are small when they are young. The title shows the expanding network that the main character will be gaining at a time when it would intuitively appear to be shrinking. It is not just the mother and father caring for the child, but now everyone else as well.
4) Why did you pick this genre?
I have a history as an educator and have always loved working with children. This type of content appeared to be missing for children of this age.
5) How do the illustrations complement your book? What was important to you as an author?
I created the characters and several features of the images from clay. In addition to giving the images depth and texture, this material is found in many classrooms and in that regard, intended to create a stronger connection between reader and text. The backgrounds were created digitally and added to bring a stronger visual presence while elevating the book.
6) As a child, what books and/or authors influenced you the most and why?
I was a fan of the typical child literature. Some of my favourites were The Giving Tree, Where the Wild Things Are, and anything Dr. Seuss related. As I grew into adolescence I enjoyed books such as Bridge to Terabithia and Where the Red Fern Grows (I guess I like to cry!) to lighter, more fun works like comics or choose your own adventure books. That said, I’ll take a good Harry Potter story any day.
7) What is the most fulfilling thing about being an author?
I enjoy writing because it has always been the easiest way for me to communicate. Not being blessed with a strong memory, writing allows me to get thoughts out in a timely fashion, and then refine them later once I have had time to process. Furthermore, I have always been able to express a greater level of passion through the written word which, in turn, gives things that are important to me more weight. Every writer feels he or she has a perspective that is worth sharing. I feel this way because I found a lack of my perspective while researching. It is incredibly fulfilling for me to provide a resource for children going through a tough time that I would have found useful while I was going through that time.
8) What do you hope children will take away with them after reading your book?
As mentioned before, I am hoping for this book to be a resource for teachers, therapists, mediators, families, and most importantly, children. I want it to give them hope and help them realize that even though this is just one possibility of how changes that seem negative can end up positive, their lives are changing. Change leads to possibilities and they must use that as something to look forward to for a positive future. I am hoping that they will then use this attitude moving forward with all aspects of their lives. Even though they may feel like they are drowning in the divorce, this too shall pass. Furthermore, it will inform their personality in many ways. The book is not just about divorce, but also about the perspective one chooses to take on negative events in life.
9) Who is/are your favourite author/s as an adult and why?
I enjoy Chuck Kloseterman very much for his quick witted intelligence and conversational style writing.
10) What are you working on now?
I currently work as an Assessment Specialist at The Educational Testing Service in the Teacher Licensure and Certification division. In regards to writing, I am currently in the early stages of developing several ideas.