An Interview with Denise Dufala, Journalist Turned Author
Dr. Anna Iacovetta | The Children’s Book Review | September 21, 2018
While attending the 1stgrade in suburban North Olmsted, Ohio, Denise Dufala had a dream. Fast forward now, through years of becoming an award-winning journalist and television personality, a wife and mother, and finally to that dream coming to fruition – Bomba the Brave was born. Denise Dufala, a first-time children’s book author, always had the idea of Bomba, the gray bunny with glasses, in the back of her mind. Bomba has emerged, and this interview provides some background.
What was the inspiration for Bomba in the first place?
The bunny came from a donated box of stuffed animals. My nephew fell in love with him and named him Bomba.
What made you decide to use rhyme in the book?
It was a piece of great advice from a local children’s librarian. I already had created a little song that Bomba sings and she suggested I keep with it and rhyme the rest of the text as well.
It is a great story about overcoming bullying. Why tackle this issue?
Children don’t always have the tools to diffuse bullying – especially little ones. They haven’t been explicitly taught to work things out on their own – so why not a children’s book to help them find their voice and speak out just as the littlest bunny, Tess did in the story.
What makes this story about bullying different than all the others?
Glasses! It is one of the most common bullying issues that young children face in school. It is relatable. It seems that anything that makes you different, makes you a target. I also wanted to illustrate that even though Ben (the classmate who is portrayed as the bully) is defeated at the end he is not excluded. Bomba offers an olive branch, of sorts, and everyone joins in singing “all together!”
What was your favorite part of writing your first children’s book?
Even though it was challenging, I really enjoyed making the text rhyme. I also really liked making the book my own by hiding secret meaning within the story. For example, Bomba’s teacher, Mrs. Fish was actually the name of my 1stgrade teacher who inspired me to cultivate my creative side.
Favorite children’s book?
Frog and Toad are Friends
What is next for you?
I have recently become the Program Ambassador for an anti-bullying campaign called “Be Kind,Stick Together” sponsored by Duck Tape and Project Love. With that, I am hoping to bring Bomba the Braveinto classrooms to spark important conversations about bully prevention. Eventually, I would like to make Bombainto a series and tackle some other important issues that face children today as well.
Written by Denise Dufala
Illustrated by Kimberly Soderberg
Book Synopsis: Bomba is a brave, young bunny who loves to jump and sing the hopscotch song. On the first day of school, Bomba discovers he needs glasses. When a classmate makes fun of him, it’s Tess to the rescue! The bunnies learn to be kind and stick together.
Ages 3-12 | Publisher: Halo Publishing International | May 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-1-61244-642-4
About the Author
Denise Dufala is an Emmy-award-winning journalist who spent 30 years as a news anchor and reporter at the CBS affiliate in Cleveland, Ohio. She also wrote a page 2 column for the Sunday edition of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Denise is a member of the Ohio Radio-Television Broadcasters Hall of Fame, and the Cleveland Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame. She is also a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCWBI). In 2017, Denise resides in Cleveland, Ohio with her husband Ed and their son, James, who created the first illustration of Bomba.
For more information on the “Be Kind, Stick Together” program, visit www.viafdn.org
This interview—An Interview with Journalist Turned Author—was conducted between Denise Dufala and Dr. Anna Iacovetta. For similar books and articles, follow along with our content tagged with Bullying, Bunny Books, Glasses, Picture Book, and School.