Thursday, February 9, 2023

Q&A with Wendy and Nonnie Gerber



Wendy Gerber

Wendy and Nonnie Gerber are the authors of the new children's picture book My Mommy, the Octopus. Wendy Gerber is executive director of strategy and head of ESG Advisory for the Siegel+Gale agency. Nonnie Gerber is a communications strategist, executive media coach, and a TV journalist. They are twins.


Q: What inspired you to write My Mommy, the Octopus, and how did the two of you collaborate on the process?


A: Wendy conceived the idea for My Mommy, the Octopus when her three children were small and she wished she had more arms to play with them and do her work. Now that more mothers—and fathers—are working from home, the challenge of balancing work and family life is even more prevalent. We wrote this book for moms and dads everywhere who wish they had more arms to juggle it all.


Wendy brought her twin sister, Nonnie, on board to help create a fun and meaningful story that would resonate with moms, dads, and children everywhere. 

Nonnie Gerber


Q: What do you think Tori Davis’s illustrations add to the story?


A: We wanted a realistic, yet whimsical and fun style to bring the story My Mommy, the Octopus to life. Nonnie met Tori on Instagram where they both share a love for sled dogs, and Tori captured the feeling we wanted beautifully! She modeled the child on Wendy’s son, Alexander, and grandson, Arlo, the mother on her daughter Samantha (even capturing Sam’s tattoo) and the pup is based Arlo’s dog Millie!


Q: How would you describe the relationship between the child and the mom in the story?

A: The child and the mom clearly love each other very much and enjoy being together. Like many children, the child wants his mom to have more time to play with him! And the mom is juggling working from home and wanting to spend quality time with her child. It’s an age-old paradigm that’s vividly shared in this story. 


We wanted to create a fun, engaging story that captures the universal theme of navigating the work-life balance, and knowing you’re enough as you are. 


Q: What do you hope kids take away from the book?


A: We hope kids enjoy the story with its engaging rhymes and beautiful illustrations and understand how much their moms—and dads—do every day. And maybe even appreciate them a little more!


And, as actress Kristen Bell wrote so beautifully in her review, this book is “a love letter to moms everywhere and a reminder that you’re enough, even if you don’t have eight arms.” We hope moms are empowered by the story and understand they are wonderful as they are. 


We’re hoping both parents and children have fun reading the book, and also take its beautiful message to heart. We were thrilled that Kristen loved the book and know that other readers will love it too!


Q: What are you working on now?


A: Wendy just finished the manuscripts for two more children’s picture books. Nonnie and Wendy recently completed the manuscript for a book for young children who are twins—like they are!


Nonnie is working on a children’s picture book about her mixed breed husky dogs—a mother and puppy—who she rescued and reunited from a thousand miles apart. It’s a touching against-all-odds love story about resilience and hope that was Reader’s Digest’s cover story in October 2021.


Q: Anything else we should know?

A: We hope moms, dads, grandparents, stepparents, foster parents, and their little ones will enjoy My Mommy, the Octopus and share why it was meaningful to them and their children in reviews. The dilemma of trying to do it all for our children and realizing we’re enough as we are is timeless. We’d love to build a community of moms and dads who enjoy our love letter to parents and children, My Mommy, the Octopus


--Interview with Deborah Kalb

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