Deborah Blumenthal is the author of the new children's book Parrots, Pugs, and Pixie Dust: A Book About Fashion Designer Judith Leiber. Her other books include Polka Dot Parade and Fancy Party Gowns, and her work has appeared in a variety of publications, including The New York Times and The Washington Post. She lives in New York City.
Q: Why did you decide to write a book for kids about designer Judith Leiber?
A: Actually my publisher came to me with the idea and I was delighted to do it since I always admired Leiber's work.
Q: How did you research the book, and did you learn anything that especially surprised you?
A: I read whatever there was – books, magazine articles, obits and all types of tributes. What surprised me was the level of devotion she had to her work and the fact that she was a total workaholic!
Q: What do you think Masha D'Yans' illustrations add to the book?
A: I think she captured the spirit of the glitter and magic of the bags as well as the darker parts of Leiber’s childhood when she and her family were captives of the Nazis in Hungary during the war.
Q: What do you hope kids take away from Leiber's story?
A: That we should follow our dreams, and that living in the world of our imagination can sometimes shelter us from the harsher realities around us.
Q: What are you working on now?
A: Two other biographies. More to come!
Q: Anything else we should know?
A: Judith Leiber loved her work, but more than that, her bags showed us that she always had fun and was open to the world around her, accepting whatever was new and quirky and sometimes silly. We all need to play and have fun and get involved in some form of self-expression if we’re going to lead a full and happy life.
--Interview with Deborah Kalb