Taking creative advantage of the unusual situation we find ourselves in this year, sisters Julie Bair and Susan Leininger put their heads together and wrote a timely book for kids heading back to school, School Is Different This Year And That’s OK! Read below to learn about this creative duo!
1. Congratulations on the release of this timely picture book! What was the writing process like for the both of you— challenges, rewards?
Susan:Thank you so much! Writing a book with my sister has been the best adventure! As we continued to talk through the back-to-school decisions we knew we weren’t alone facing this dilemma and this special book evolved. Writing this book channeled all that unknown energy into creativity and we just had fun meeting the moment. The biggest reward besides doing this with my sister has been when a child comes up to me and says they like our book – that is the ultimate compliment. The biggest challenge was getting this book out in a timely manner.
Julie: Thank you! We are overwhelmed by the success of the book. People have been so supportive. The writing process was honestly a lot of fun! My sister and I wrote the book over FaceTime, phone calls, and text messages. We were struggling with back-to-school decisions for our families and this provided a relief from that anxiety. The most challenging part was writing our first book in under 30 days. Given the timely nature of the subject, speed was important. We learned a lot through the process and had a lot of fun doing it together!
2. On a scale of 1-10, how high would you say your concern about the threat of COVID contagion in school is?
Susan: I would say I am a solid 5 in my non medical opinion. I feel like they continue to be forward thinking and proactive and schools are doing an incredible job to protect everyone. I also think because they continue to learn more everyday and it’s such a contagious virus that we have to do our part to protect one another outside of school.
Julie: I’m not a doctor and can’t put a number on it for you. I can say that the schools and educators are working very hard. It really comes down to the communities. Schools are a reflection of the community’s progress in managing it.
3.Can we expect more children’s books from you in the future?
Susan: We had so much fun writing this book and continue to get feedback that children enjoy reading about what is happening right now. I do think there are more stories to tell.
Julie: We really enjoyed writing the first book. We are brainstorming ideas now and would love to write another one in the future!
4. Where can your book be purchased?
Susan and Julie: Amazon