The Children’s Book Review Interview in partnership with Elizabeth Hamilton-Guarino and Kris Fuller
Elizabeth Hamilton-Guarino is one of America’s most trusted mindset, leadership, and personal development consultants. Her children’s books inspire little ones to also be their best, with a focus on following your dreams and collaboration. She is the author of many children’s books including Pinky Doodle Bug.
Kris Fuller is the author of Terramara: Mara’s Transformation, and co-author of Pinky Doodle Bug, and more! She is a Certified Master Coach at The Best Ever You Network with a focus on overcoming obstacles with positivity, confidence, and mindset strategies.
In this conversation, the pair discuss Pinky Doodle Dance, their latest collaboration that will have your kiddo’s imagination soaring!
Dr. Jen Harrison: I love the fact that diversity and teamwork are celebrated so subtly in the Pinky Doodle Dance. Were those messages intentional from the start, or did they just creep in as you were working on the book?
Elizabeth Hamilton-Guarino and Kris Fuller: They were intentional. When we look at the work we do together at Best Ever You, we knew we wanted to include the same themes for our young readers.
How did the two of you end up working together on the Pinky series? Did you know each other previously, or did you meet through this project?
We met online in January 2020 and have not met in person yet! It was a Women in Business Facebook group and we both needed to learn how to use Zoom at the time. By practicing and learning zoom (collaborating from the onset!) we quickly realized how kindred our minds were—we both work as coaches with platforms to be your best and have a positive, confident mindset. We knew immediately that we wanted to create and work together.
So, neither of you is solely a children’s book author by profession – what prompted you to start sharing your insights and experiences through children’s books as well as through more in-person work with adults?
That’s right. We both wear many hats including Master Coaches, speakers, authors in our own right and course, workshop, and journal creators. Our goal is to help as many people as we can to strive to be their best. We both love children and have been involved with education in many different forums: mentoring, teaching, coaching. Kris loves rhyming prose and Elizabeth had already created the concept of Pinky Doodle when they met and the chance to work together on it was a perfect fit.
The book blurb mentions “drawing” and “writing” and “dreaming” alongside reading: how would you recommend an educator or parent incorporate these activities with this book to support early reading?
The book is so colorful and beautiful inside- we appreciate our artist, Vova so much! Having discussions about what is in the illustrations is a great starting point. Ask your young reader to find the bee, dance along with the stick bugs, make up a song! There are, of course, ‘Doodle Pages’ at the back of the book too- those are special, dedicated pages for little ones to write and draw on- very special for a book as we don’t normally write on or in our books. We love that unique element for Pinky Doodle’s books!
The fairy-tale setting for these books is adorable. Why did you choose an enchanted forest rather than a more realistic setting for the story, and do you think that impacts the message?
Yes, we wanted to make it creative, fun, and magical. We let our dreams soar when we created all the characters and fun in the forest. Pinky Doodle Bug is a wonderful place for a young reader to imagine and enjoy.
Do you think adult readers can learn from the Pinky series alongside their children?
Yes, of course! After reading the book, the discussions about who did what to help or what problems Pinky Doodle had and how she solved them lead to great discussion points with young readers. We believe that any time you discuss problem-solving, collaboration, and share ideas, we learn and grow. That includes the adults who are reading alongside their listeners.
What would you say to those who insist that fairy-tale stories and imagination have no value in the modern world?
We would snap our magic fingers and change their minds! Fairy-tale stories are delightful and when we read this book aloud, it fills us with delight. This joy is needed and welcome in the modern world. Snap. Snap!
So, Pinky has already had several adventures – what do you have planned for her next one?
We are so excited about her next adventures. We have a few ideas for what she will get up to. Her adventures are limitless! Our readers have suggested that she go camping, plant a garden and celebrate the holidays. We love those suggestions and we can’t wait to release more Pinky Doodle.
Why did you choose a dance party for the story rather than any other sort of party, like a birthday party or a sleepover party?
We love dancing and as we talked about the characters, it organically came to be.. we wanted a break-dancing moose and owls that did the jive. (But thanks for even more ideas in this question… we love birthdays AND sleepovers!)
What would your advice be to parents and educators who want to encourage their children to embrace teamwork and diversity (apart from reading Pinky Doodle Dance, of course!)?
Model it, talk about it, celebrate it. We achieve so much more when we work together.
For more information, visit ElizabethHamilton-Guarino.com.
Written by Elizabeth Hamilton-Guarino and Kris Fuller
Illustrated by Vova Kirichenko
Ages 2-12 | 40 Pages
Publisher: Waldorf Publishing | ISBN-13: 9781649214768
Publisher’s Synopsis: Let your child’s imagination soar by joining Pinky and her friends on another adventure! Did you know that each year, around this time, Pinky and her friends all gather for the biggest dance party ever? Together, once again, they “Let their dreams fly” and help each other be their best.
From the best-selling Pinky Doodle Bug author, Elizabeth Hamilton-Guarino, this book is perfect for children learning to read and parents who want to share the joy of reading, writing, drawing, and dreaming. Pinky Doodle Bug is full of light-footed rhymes and delightful illustrations that are sure to make this wonderful tale an instant favorite.
“Full of merriment and imagination, Pinky’s adventures are designed to appeal to beginner readers, and Pinky Doodle Dance is no exception. As well as the usual imaginative setting and fun characters, Pinky Doodle Dance also offers important messages about teamwork, friendship, and diversity…” —The Children’s Book Review
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This interview—Elizabeth Hamilton-Guarino and Kris Fuller Discuss Pinky Doodle Dance—was conducted between Elizabeth Hamilton-Guarino, Kris Fuller, and Dr. Jen Harrison. For similar books and articles, follow along with our content tagged with Friendship, Picture Book, and Teamwork.