Jacqueline Waterhouse is a mother of two and understands how early self-esteem issues can arise in a child. She has written two books to help children feel positive about wearing glasses.
Bonnie Ferrante: Welcome Jacqueline, You have written two books, Princesses Don’t Wear Glasses and Superheroes Don’t Wear Glasses. Why did you choose this topic and why did you decide to write two books on it?
Jacqueline Waterhouse: I wrote the story Princesses Don’t Wear Glasses, because that is what my 3 year old daughter said to me at the time when she didn’t want to wear glasses and it really saddened me. So I tried to find some books for her where pretty princesses wear glasses but was disappointed with the result! Are we really teaching 3 year olds that beauty is what really counts in life?
I hope that this book can be of help to parents with little girls with glasses and get them to wear their glasses with pride. Nowadays glasses are so pretty compared to when I was a child and once they wear them to school for the first time and other children comment on how pretty their glasses are they can wear them with pride. My daughter even had a girl in her class that wore glasses but only the frames because she thought they were so pretty even though she didn’t need to wear them!
Ferrante: The books are mostly text, with a few illustrations. What age are they for?
Waterhouse: The book originally was aimed at young girls around 3-6 for mum to read it to them but over the last few months I had some lovely feedback from local schools that girls at the age of 7-9 were reading this book independently and also really enjoyed it.
Ferrante: Superheroes is 29 pages while Princesses is 50. Why is there such a difference?
Waterhouse: Superheroes Don’t Wear Glasses came through the great feedback from parents suggesting there should be a boys version as boys don’t particularly want to be pretty but they certainly want to be cool wearing glasses. So I wrote the boys version keeping the concept the same but the story slightly altered to something far more important to boys: Superheroes. Again there are no real superheroes wearing glasses only superman but he only wears them when he is not a superhero.
Both stories are the same length. 50 pages in the book but actual story line is 37.
Ferrante: How did you find your illustrator? Did you consult on the drawings?
Waterhouse: The illustrator is a very talented artist Gabi Carr who was recommended to me via a friend and although she had never done any illustrations for children’s books before her talent and her detailed illustrations are beautiful! I did not interfere in her artwork and let her creativity free run but I did tell her what sort of a picture I wanted for which part of the books!
Ferrante: Are you working on another book? Tell us about it.
Waterhouse: I am currently working on a new book called When Mum Took the Day Off, as again inspired by my now 9 year old daughter. Apparently I am really annoying when I am telling her what to do or not to do. Like why can I not watch telly and have the iPad on at the same time? Or nagging her about doing her homework. This book will show a young child what a day without mum could be like and what could possibly go wrong? Needless to say the child is glad to have his mum back the following day.
I am thinking of letting my older daughter Jamey aged 14 do the illustrations in this one as she is doing her GCSEs in art next year and is quite talented.
Ferrante: What have important thing have you learned from creating these two books? About writing? About publishing?
Waterhouse: Writing it made me feel empowered to able to create a land and creatures that have an adventure is exciting but also of value to a child and hopefully socially educational.
Ferrante: If you had the ability to compete in any Olympic event, which one would you choose to enter?
Waterhouse: If I could take part in any Olympic event it would be ice skating / figure skating / dancing on ice. It looks so beautiful and every time I watch it I feel like I would like to have a go.
Ferrante: If 10 people who know you were asked to write down on a piece of paper the one adjective that each of them thinks best describes you, what you think would be the most common word written down?
Waterhouse: According to my friends I am fun and a good laugh.
Ferrante: You’ve no doubt heard the expression, “They couldn’t pay me enough to do that job.” What job would that be for you?
Waterhouse: There is no legal job that I would not do if I really had to. But I am really not keen on feet, so I suppose giving someone a pedicure would be very challenging for me.
Ferrante: Thank you, Jacqueline, for participating in this interview. I’m sure there are parents out there who will be very grateful for these books. Good luck with all your writing.
Jacqueline Waterhouse’s books will be reviewed on this blog on November 25, 2016.
Note: the three random questions are from “Chat Pack – Fun Questions to Spark Conversations”.