Author Interview & Book Giveaway: Harry the Happy Caterpillar Grows by Cindy Jett

Welcome to Cindy Jett author of Harry the Happy Caterpillar Grows.
Cindy Jett, LICSW is a psychotherapist in Washington, DC.  She has Master of Social Work from the Catholic University of America, and a Bachelors of Architecture from the University of Notre Dame.

Night owl, or early bird?
Reformed night owl. Motherhood kind of requires that.

Skittles or M&Ms?
M&M’s. Does anyone choose Skittles?

What is your favorite sport to watch on TV?
Football. The Pittsburgh Steelers, to be specific. I was in Mexico recently and discovered that Mexicans are huge NFL fans. Their two favorite teams are the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Dallas Cowboys. I was able to catch every Steelers game on TV (in Spanish!).

What was your favorite book when you were a child?
I remember liking James and the Giant Peach an awful lot. I read it to my five year old daughter recently, and was less impressed. On the other hand, I found Charlotte’s Web “boring” as a child, and when I reread it recently, I thought it was a beautiful, almost perfect story. It made me cry. My daughter said, “Mom, it’s just a spider. You don’t cry when real bugs die.”

What do you do when you are in-between books?
I like to do artwork- painting, beading, mosaic, but lately I’ve been doing a lot book promotion.

Where is your favorite place to read/write?
I like anonymous public places- coffee shops, the library, a bookstore. I don’t write much at home- I am not sure why.

Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book.
It is an entertaining story for any child, and particularly helpful to kids who are anxious about change.

What is your guilty pleasure?
TV. Madmen. Men of a Certain Age. The Good Wife. I love good dramas.

How did you celebrate getting your first book published?
First, I think I need to explain how startling it was to get a book published at all. I originally set out to be an illustrator, and decided to write a story so I would have something to illustrate. I had never written a story before that I can remember. I sat down one day at the local Starbuck’s and wrote a story, inspired by my daughter who loves caterpillars and butterflies. After reading a bit about the children’s book publishing, I realized that publishers are not looking for illustrated stories. They look for stories and then they choose an illustrator. So I never illustrated my story, but for some reason, I decided to send it to publishers anyway. I got about a thousand rejection letters over the next few months, and that was that. Then about a year and a half later, I was vacationing in Mexico, when I received a phone call from a woman stating she wanted to publish my story. You can imagine my total delight and surprise. To finally answer the question, I think my husband and I celebrated by eating street tacos that night.

What’s next?
I have a second book coming out this June about teamwork. It is called Joni and the Fallen Star. It is a story about a little star that falls to earth, and a group of kids that help him return home. The illustrations are really amusing- I am very excited about it!

Please visit Cindy’s Website for lots of helpful information on helping children adjust to change:

Harry the Happy Caterpillar Grows:
Sometimes it is difficult for children to identify and talk about their feelings directly. This is particularly true of younger children who are still developing their “feeling vocabulary”.  A book which mirrors their experience can help with this process.

Harry the Happy Caterpillar Grows: Helping Children Adjust to Change, is a picture book for kids ages 4-10, that explores the issues related to facing change, whether it be a new school, moving residence, or a change in family structure. The story centers on Harry, a caterpillar that has a fantastic life full of games, friends, school and leaf eating. He is stunned when, one day at caterpillar school, he learns that he is expected to build a chrysalis and become a butterfly. Harry vows to remain a caterpillar forever, and refuses to build a chrysalis. Eventually, Harry learns to accept change as a necessary part of life, builds his chrysalis, and joins his friends as a butterfly. There are tips in the back of the book to help parents and educators use the story as a vehicle to help kids talk about their feelings about change, as well as teach them coping strategies.

Giveaway Details:
1 copy of Harry the Caterpillar Grows by Cindy Jett
Open to US only
ends 2/8/11

Optional Extra Entries:
+1 Like Harry the Caterpillar on Facebook
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