Jessi Rausch is the author of the new children's picture book She Shines Bright. She lives in New Jersey.
Q: How did you come up with the idea for She Shines Bright?
A: My daughter is by definition a "girly-girl," obsessed with princesses, mermaids, ballerinas, and unicorns. I wanted to explain to her in a very positive light that while those things are great, she has the ability to be whatever she dreams someday. And though her current dreams involve wearing a tutu every day, there's something bigger out there waiting for her!
While she still loves a good dress and her favorite color is purple, I think it has helped open her eyes to dream bigger!
Q: What do you hope kids take away from the book?
A: As mentioned, I originally wrote this book for my daughter. However, after working through it more, I realized its ability to help young minds be open to future possibilities. While media is slowly starting to change over, there is still a strong need for these types of books.
Young girls deserve to be the star of the show, and even more importantly, they can be the star without needing someone else's help to get there. My hope is that girls everywhere will know they are capable of making their dreams happen...even as President!
Q: What do you think Monica Nicolosi's illustrations add to the book?
A: I really appreciate Monica's edgy drawings. I think they add an extra layer of unique character to the book. I wanted to make sure only females were included in the book and I like the way her raw, unrefined approach is set apart from the average children's book illustrations.
I also enjoy norm4eva's border image for the cover, as I believe it makes the book stand out more....which is the same idea I had for young girls reading the book, to shine bright!
Q: Who are some of your favorite authors?
A: This is definitely the most difficult question! I have a hard time defining anything as a favorite, besides my kids of course!
Recent books I've read and thoroughly enjoyed are Liane Moriarty's What Jane Forgot, How to Talk So Little Kids Will Listen by Joanna Faber, and even Beneath a Scarlet Sky by Mark T. Sullivan; so as you can see I shift around from a good drama, to self-help, and even non-fiction.
Reading is all about expanding the mind and a lot of that depends on what type of mood you're in. For children's books, I love a good rhyme, as well as the What Do You Do with an Idea? series and I can never get enough of watching my kids do ABC Yoga by Christiane Engel.
Q: What are you working on now?
A: I am working on a few other children's books right now. They follow similar themes of girl power and/or respecting those who are often a minority. I hope that my next books continue challenging young readers to accept and empower those who are different than us!
Q: Anything else we should know?
A: She Shines Bright is not just for girls. I think it's a very important lesson for boys to also understand. We need our next generation of men to know that women can be anything and deserve just as much. It's a very important lesson for our boys because they have the ability to help us close the gap.
--Interview with Deborah Kalb