Dr. Anna Iacovetta | The Children’s Book Review | January 10, 2019
Who knew that a made-up bedtime tale to get her daughter to brush her teeth would be the ultimate impetus of her first children’s chapter book! Emma Wunsch, author of Miranda and Maude: The Princess and the Absolutely Not a Princess—the premier book of the series—combined her daughter’s “love for all things princess” with a silly, impromptu story to create the characters. Miranda and Maude are two girls who are completely opposite to one another. Although it takes a while for their friendship to blossom, the adventures of these girls are just beginning!
Dr. Anna Iacovetta: The Princess and the Absolutely Not a Princess, is a story that not only teaches empathy, but also the importance of communication and tolerance when it comes to making friends. Is this something that was intentional before putting pen to paper or did it develop during the creative process?
Emma Wunsch: My main goal has always been to write something that kids (and the adults who read to kids) would enjoy. The message of empathy emerged as I wrote because the characters came first. I think it would have been a very different book if I’d set out with an intentional message.
At what point did you decide these girls would be better suited in a series versus just in one book?
My agent suggested or possibly demanded a series after I sent her the first draft which was around 90,000 words! That might be an exaggeration, but the first version was really long. At the time, chapter-book series weren’t on my radar because my kids were little. Now, I can’t imagine Miranda and Maude as anything else.
The comic-like illustrations by Jessika von Innerebner really paired well with the story. How were the two of you paired together for your book? Did you have much say in how the characters looked or did you brainstorm with Jessika?
I’m so fortunate that Abrams found Jess for Miranda and Maude. Early on, I gave feedback on the visual development Jess created for the main characters. I remember notes suggesting that Michael-John look older and Miss Kinde having different hair. As we’ve worked together, I’ve come to rely more on Jess’ vision. She knows the characters as much as I do and has really brought the world to life.
What would you like young girls to take from the Miranda and Maude series?
As I’ve written the books, I’ve grown in how I’ve thought about the characters. At first, Miranda was a typical princess. Now, she’s more complicated. Sure, she loves fancy clothes, but she’s also shy, smart, and a hard worker. She also cares about people and their happiness. Maude, for all of her noble causes, can, like all of us, sometimes make quick judgements and be a little selfish. The world of Miranda and Maude isn’t real, but I hope the idea that all people are complicated so we should be less quick to judge, transcends the made-up world. But first and foremost, I want readers to find the books funny and relatable.
Favorite children’s book?
So many! As a kid, I loved Calvin and Hobbes, For Better or For Worse, and all books by Judy Blume and Beverly Cleary. There was even a point when I knew much of the first chapter of Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by heart. Now as a parent, I’ve read a lot my favorites to my kids, but mostly we read contemporary books.
What’s next for you?
The second book in the Miranda and Maude series (Banana Pants) will be out in early February and I’ll be working with Jessika on the illustrations for the third book, which will be out in 2020.
Any other tidbits/comments you’d like to share?
Since writing the Miranda and Maude series, my socks have gotten more interesting. I now own chicken socks, banana socks, and doughnut socks. There must be a correlation, right?
Written By Emma Wunsch
Illustrated by Jessika Von Innerebner
Publisher’s Synopsis: A princess and a revolutionary form an unexpected friendship in this charming, illustrated chapter-book series, perfect for fans of Judy Moody and Clementine!
Princess Miranda does not want to go to school. She wants to shoe shop, plan parties, and decorate the castle. Maude cannot wait for school. She loves rules and social justice and getting good grades. She also loves hard-boiled eggs, much to Miranda’s dismay. When a tense first week of school results in Maude getting excluded from the Royal Birthday Party, Maude decides she’s found her first fight for social justice: a birthday boycott.
This hilarious, heartfelt chapter-book series teaches empathy, and reminds us that your very best friend could be one desk away.
Ages 6-9 | Publisher: Harry N. Abrams | August 7, 2018 | ISBN: 978-1419731792
Written By Emma Wunsch
Illustrated by Jessika Von Innerebner
Publisher’s Synopsis: Princess Miranda and Not-a-Princess Maude are total opposites and totally best friends! Fed up with nonstop testing, Miranda and Maude’s teacher makes a surprise announcement: They are going to put on a school play! And, the class decides, it will be called Banana Pants! School is finally a joy, and the project inspires the girls to fight for more positive change. Maude decides to wage a campaign against Styrofoam lunch trays, and she thinks she has the perfect powerful ally in Miranda. But, much to Maude’s frustration, Miranda would rather focus on her own good cause: love! The girls can’t seem to see eye to eye, and in pursuing their good causes separately, they go way too far, resulting in the friendship’s first-ever fight.
Ages 6-9 | Publisher: Harry N. Abrams | February 5, 2019 | ISBN: 978-1419731808
This interview—The Inside Scoop on Author Emma Wunsch—was conducted between Emma Wunsch and Dr. Anna Iacovetta. For similar books and articles, follow along with our content tagged with Empathy, Friendship, Illustrated Chapter Books, and Princesses.
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