A podcast interview with Katherine Schwarzenegger Pratt
The Children’s Book Review
In this episode, New York Times best-selling author Katherine Schwarzenegger Pratt talks about her absolutely adorable bedtime book, Good Night, Sister.
This heartwarming picture book celebrates and cultivates the unique bond between siblings, especially sisters, and the close-knit relationships children can have at a young age; while also helping kiddos feel less alone in their nighttime, scary experiences. Good Night, Sister makes for a sweet addition to your bedtime routine.
Listen to the Interview
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Katherine Schwarzenegger Pratt (she/her) is a New York Times best-selling author, mother and host of BDA Baby. As a passionate animal advocate, Katherine works as an Ambassador for Best Friends Animal Society (bestfriends.org) and the ASPCA (aspca.org). She is also a Global Ambassador for Special Olympics. Katherine lives with her family in Los Angeles.
Read the Interview
Bianca Schulze: Hi, Katherine. First of all, I want to welcome you to The Growing Readers Podcast. Thanks so much for being here today.
Katherine Schwarzenegger Pratt: Thank you so much for having me. I’m so excited.
Bianca Schulze: Well, you’re on the show today to talk about Goodnight’s, Sister, which is an adorable bedtime story with a sweet and very surprising ending. Before we talk about it, do you mind if we get to know a little bit about you with some fun rapid-fire questions?
Katherine Schwarzenegger Pratt: Of course, I love a rapid fire. Okay.
Bianca Schulze: They’re going to be favorite things. And since you’re a passionate animal advocate, we will start with what’s your favorite animal?
Katherine Schwarzenegger Pratt: I think a horse.
Bianca Schulze: Favorite color?
Katherine Schwarzenegger Pratt: Right now, it is light purple, like a lilac-y color.
Bianca Schulze: Pretty. Food?
Katherine Schwarzenegger Pratt: Crackers.
Bianca Schulze: Any specific kind of cracker?
Katherine Schwarzenegger Pratt: Yes. Mary’s Gone Crackers. I should be their spokesperson.
Bianca Schulze: Favorite song?
Katherine Schwarzenegger Pratt: Anything? Beyonce or Disney. Like any Disney princess song from my childhood, I know every single word.
Bianca Schulze: I bet your girls love that. Favorite movie?
Katherine Schwarzenegger Pratt: Favorite movie? Probably Wedding Crashers.
Bianca Schulze: And favorite book?
Katherine Schwarzenegger Pratt: Good Night, Sister.
Bianca Schulze: Cheater. Well, on the topic of Good Night, Sister, it’s your fifth published book, but your second children’s book. In terms of children’s books, I want to know what motivates you to write for kids.
Katherine Schwarzenegger Pratt: Well, I mean, my first children’s book that I wrote, I did it before I was even married, so I wasn’t a mom. I just did it because I have always loved kids. I love connecting with kids and just spending time with them and seeing how they’re like little sponges with how much they learn and absorb so much information and how curious they are.
And I wrote my first children’s book about animal adoption based on little conversations I would have with kids when I would take my dog Maverick out for a walk. He’s a little blend dog, so he’s a bunch of different breeds. He’s a rescue dog, and he looks really unique and interesting. And every time I would pass a child with him, they had so many questions about where he came from, what kind of dog he was, what his story was, and why he looked the way he looked. And I just thought it was so interesting to talk to little kids about the subject of animal rescue. So I wrote a book about it just to talk to them about it.
And when it comes to this book, Good Night, Sister, this is again about a subject that I’m really passionate about and excited about, which is the subject of sisterhood. And I wrote it as a tribute to my relationship with my sister Christina. And I had my first daughter, Lila. And I started writing this book because I was flooded with so many emotions as a new mom, sitting in a rocking chair with my first child, reading so many of the same books that Christina and I read growing up. And just that bond and relationship between my sister and I is such a special one and it was so important to me growing up and of course still today.
And so I wanted to write a book celebrating that relationship and that dynamic. And it has been very convenient that I’ve been able to have a second daughter in that time. So I have sisters and my two girls and then of course, my sister relationship with my sister Christina, which is amazing. So both books have been about subjects that are really exciting and really important to me. And now, writing a book as a mom is even more fun.
Bianca Schulze: Let’s dig into the idea that it is a bedtime story. There’s a big focus on sisterhood, which is important to you, but it is a bedtime story. And so, how do you imagine families getting together with their kids and reading their books? Do you have a bedtime routine at your house that you do that you imagine other families snuggling up together?
Katherine Schwarzenegger Pratt: Yeah, our bedtime routine is such an important part of our day. And just whether it’s a nap routine or bedtime routine, I find the nap sorry. I find the bedtime routine to be the kind of sweetest time as a parent and especially as a new mom, where you can really just sit and be still with your child and read books, cuddle, be together, have little fun conversations about their stuffies that are in their bed or what they did that day. And it was such a sacred time for me growing up with my siblings and parents. And it’s become such a big part of my day and nighttime routine with my girls and, of course, my husband.
And it’s always something I look forward to at the end of the day, kind of that wind-down period. And we go upstairs, do bathtime, pick out books to read, go over all the stuffed animals, and get ready for bed. So it’s a really sweet time. I also like not to have my phone around; I just really like to be fully present when it comes to that whole time at night. So I have been reading a lot of the same books that I read growing up with my sister. We’re reading now with my daughters. And it’s so wild to have so many memories of my own experience reading them. And then now, to read them with my girls as a mom is wild.
So I wrote this book knowing how important the nighttime routine is as a mom and really hoping that this book that I wrote, Good Night, Sister, could become a part of people’s bedtime routines, that people would want to add it into their list of books or into their routine process with their kids, which everyone’s is different. But it seems like a lot of people have their own bedtime routines. And so, the idea that this book could become a part of people’s bedtime routines is really exciting to me.
And also, one of the reasons I wrote it as a bedtime routine is to just, you know, promote conversation around the subject, which is, you know, sisterhood. And even if you don’t have a sister, you can talk to your kids about having that bond and connection with a sibling, a cousin, a friend, a parent, whatever that looks like. And just the importance of that. And being able to have a partner in crime that you can turn to when you need to feel supported or brave is such a gift. So that’s my hope with it.
Bianca Schulze: The dedication is to your sister and your first daughter. I imagine there’s something pretty special about reading it with your sister and getting to read it with your kids, and do they feel the same way?
Katherine Schwarzenegger Pratt: Well, it’s so crazy because I wrote this book, as I mentioned, I wrote this book before I had my second daughter, which is why I had dedicated it to my sister and Lyla because I hadn’t even had Eloise yet. So, yeah, it’s been so awesome to see the final product of the book. And then a couple of nights ago, actually, like, right before I kicked off this book tour, I hadn’t read the book with my daughter Lyla yet because I didn’t want to force her to read a book that her mom wrote. But I had the book lying on the kitchen counter, and she picked up the book and said mommy, can I read this book tonight? And I said, oh, my gosh, sure.
So we read the book, and she asked me about all the stuffed animals—and, oh, my gosh, that’s my stuffy. Why is my stuffy in this book? That stuffy looks exactly like mine. And all the stuffed animals in this book were modeled off of the ones that she had in her crib when she was little and the ones that she still does have and that also Eloise plays with. So that was really sweet to see her kind of try and figure out why her stuffed animals are in this book.
And then, after we finished reading it, I was like, so what did you think of the book? She said, Mommy, I love this book. This book is so sweet. It is so lovely. I was like, oh, my gosh, thank you. Ila. It was such a sweet and honest little moment, so it felt really nice to read it to her. And I wasn’t sure, like, when that would happen or how that would happen, and it happened really kind of nicely and organically. So it was a very sweet experience.
Bianca Schulze: Well, since you’ve mentioned the stuffies a couple of times and the illustrations of the stuffies, illustrator Lucy Fleming is one of my favorites. So I love that she’s the illustrator for this book. And I was going to ask you, like, the stuffies felt like that Lucy had been into my house and illustrated the stuffies on my kid’s bed, and so I love that about this book is that it sounds like maybe you sent a photograph to Lucy and that’s what she modeled the artwork from. But I feel like every kid that picks up this book will be able to see at least one stuffy on that bed that feels like theirs.
Katherine Schwarzenegger Pratt: Yeah, I was super specific when it came to the stuffed animals and modeling them after the ones that my daughter had, and then when it came to the two main characters in the book, making them as close to resembling my sister and I growing up, and also their rooms. In the book, I was very specific about the details of what was on the walls, what the beds looked like, what the pillows looked like—every little thing.
And it was such a wonderful experience to work with Lucy Fleming because not only is she amazingly talented and does such beautiful artwork and also dreamy artwork, which is so great for a bedtime book, but she also worked with me really closely to make sure that all of my ideas came through and that the details that would touch on not only my kids stuffed animals, but also making the story have certain tributes to my sister and my relationship growing up and our rooms growing up and what we were interested in and making that part of it.
So it was really fun and a great experience to work with her. And so I feel really lucky that she took this book on.
Bianca Schulze: I love this story, too, because we see a lot of big sister and little sister books. But what’s unique about your story is that, and you can probably speak to this more articulately than I can, the little sister relationship and the big sister relationship in this story is sort of role reversal. Where it’s often the little sister looking up to the big sister, which she does in this story. But the big sister also looks up to the little sister. So do you want to speak to that element of the story?
Katherine Schwarzenegger Pratt: Yeah, for sure. That’s really why I wrote this book. It’s really based on the relationship between me and my sister Christina. Because growing up, I’m, of course, the oldest in my family. But when we were little, I was much shyer than Christina. I was much more timid and reserved, and Christina was 19 months younger than me, but she was this kind of bold, confident firecracker of a child, and she did everything first. And so I leaned on her so much to go down a slide first, have a sleepover first, get her ears pierced first, and go to camp first. Like, I really would not do anything unless either Christina did it with me or she did it before me.
And it is, I think, traditionally, as the oldest, people think, like, you need to be the stronger one. You have to do things first. You have to set a good example for your younger siblings. And for a lot of moments growing up, it was reversed. And I leaned on Christina a lot. And so I think it was a really special dynamic that we had that I feel really lucky to have had because just because you’re the oldest, it doesn’t mean that you don’t get nervous about certain things or don’t need support or someone to help you feel brave and confident.
And Christina certainly did that for me growing up, and I wanted to put that dynamic in the book because I think that there is sometimes pressure that, oh, if you’re older than somebody, if it’s your sibling or if it’s a friend, you have to know better. You have to do things first. You have to be confident be braver. And so this book was kind of like, if that’s not you, that’s okay. If that is you, that’s okay, too. And whatever that looks like for you as far as finding somebody that you can turn to to help you feel supported and help you feel strong, that you can be older than them or younger than them or the same age as them, that it’s okay.
And we all, at times in life, when we’re kids and when we’re adults, need somebody to help us feel supported and loved. And for me, growing up, it was my sister, so I wanted to touch on that dynamic between us because it was such a special one.
Bianca Schulze: I love that. Well, I feel like you may have already answered my next question, but you may want to add something, so I will ask it anyway. What do you hope kids and the grown-ups who read to them will take away from reading? Goodnight, sister.
Katherine Schwarzenegger Pratt: Well, I think just the special bond between sisters is such a unique one and one that I’m so grateful to have had growing up and so grateful to have now as an adult. And our relationship, my relationship with my sister, has evolved and has grown and is such an important one in my life. And it’s so special now to have two girls myself and know they’ll have each other in life.
And no matter if you have a sister or not, that could be a brother or any sibling in general, a cousin, someone you think of as a sibling and a friend, whatever that is. Being able to have that close-knit relationship at a young age and have it last through life is such a gift, and I think something that, as parents, we can really nurture and cultivate in our kids.
And so my hope is that people will read the book and feel maybe less afraid. A lot of parents have come up to me in the past couple of days who’ve read this book and said, this book really helped my daughter or my son feel less alone in their nighttime, scary experiences. And they feel like their stuffies can help them now. And they can help them feel brave or confident, or their sibling can help them feel brave or confident. So if this book allows a child to feel like they’re seen in this journey and seen in this story, then that makes me feel so happy and so great.
And also just to feel a little bit less alone in either a bedtime scary time or a relationship time with your sister, brother, or cousin, whatever that looks like. I just hope this book is a sweet addition to your bedtime routine.
Bianca Schulze: Yeah. And then I have one final question for you. You’ve done a lot of interviews, and you also interview and have discussions yourself. You have your BDA on Instagram for before, during, and after baby. So I’m curious, in terms of discussions and interviews that you’ve done, is there a question that you wish people would ask you and they have never asked you?
Katherine Schwarzenegger Pratt: I feel like I get asked so many different questions that I think are amazing questions. I can’t think of something off the top of my head that’s, like, I wish I could talk more about specifically. I don’t know if there’s something that you feel like wanting to ask that you haven’t heard an answer to yet, maybe, but I don’t know if there’s anything that I wish I could talk more about because if I did, I think I would probably turn it into a book.
Bianca Schulze: I love it. On that note, I will also add a question here. Do you have plans for another book? Whether it’s for adults or children, I.
Katherine Schwarzenegger Pratt: I would love to continue to do both. I’ve had so much fun the past three days that this book has been out, just talking about all things kid related, especially as a mom myself. Now, I would love to be able to continue doing children’s books. So watch out for that, because that will be something we will continue very soon.
And when it comes to adult books, I’d love to be able to continue to do that too. Because, again, all the subjects I’ve written about for my adult books are ones that I have just naturally experienced in life and felt that I wanted to dive deeper into because I felt like I was struggling with those subjects. And I wanted to really be a student of them and felt very quickly and learned very quickly that there were a lot of people also wanting to become students of those subjects. So I think just when it comes to the subjects of the adult books I write, it’s based on life experiences.
So I would love to continue to do both adult and children’s books, and yeah, stay tuned.
Bianca Schulze: We will definitely stay tuned. Well, Katherine. Good Night, Sister is absolutely gorgeous. So thank you for writing it. And thank you so much for sharing your time and thoughts with us today. We really appreciate it.
Katherine Schwarzenegger Pratt: Awesome. Thank you so much. It’s been so fun talking to you.
About the Book
Good Night, Sister
Written by Katherine Schwarzenegger Pratt
Illustrated by Lucy Fleming
Ages 3+ | 32 Pages
Publisher: Penguin Workshop | ISBN-13: 9780593385814
Publisher’s Book Summary: An instant New York Times bestseller!
From New York Times best-selling author Katherine Schwarzenegger Pratt comes a beautiful bedtime read, celebrating the power and comfort of sisterhood. This sweet title is the perfect gift for sisters or anyone with a special bond!
Kat is excited to sleep in her own room—the big girl room—for the very first time. But her younger sister, Tina, is nervous to sleep in their old room without her. So Kat comes up with a plan: she’ll give all of her stuffed animals to her younger sister, and every time Tina gets scared, she should hold them close and be reminded of all the wonderful things each animal represents: bravery, creativity, love, and imagination.
But that night, as a storm thunders outside their windows, it turns out that the big girl room can feel a bit lonely. And Kat might be the one who needs the extra support.
With simple, gentle prose, Katherine Schwarzenegger Pratt shares a comforting bedtime story, illuminating the bonds sisters share and the many ways they are there for one another.
Buy the Book
Learn more about Katherine Schwarzenegger Pratt here:
- About Good Night, Sister.
- Katherine Schwarzenegger Pratt’s favorite things.
- Why Katherine enjoys writing for kids.
- Bedtime stories and routines.
- The artwork of Lucy Flemming.
Thank you for listening to the Growing Readers Podcast episode: Katherine Schwarzenegger Pratt Discusses Good Night, Sister. For the latest episodes from The Growing Readers Podcast, Follow Now on Spotify. For similar books and articles, you can check out all of our content tagged with Bedtime Stories, Big Sister, Little Sisters, Picture Book, Sisters, and Thunderstorm Books for Kids.
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