Charlene A. Derby
Why the series, "A Boy Learns to Bake?"
I had the idea to write Cherry Pie last Presidents’ Day. I was feeling nostalgic about past Presidents’ Days and missing my child who was now a graduate student in physics at a local university. So I did what many people do to process their feelings: I wrote about them.
It took me two days to write Cherry Pie: Celebrating Presidents’ Day and that text has remained unchanged during the process. What followed was a creative process motivated by a series of “Wouldn’t it be nice if?” questions.
Wouldn’t it be nice if the readers also had the cherry pie recipe?
Wouldn’t it be nice if the readers delved deeper into the meaning of the holiday?
Wouldn’t it be nice if there were a vocabulary section?
Wouldn’t it be nice parents understood the value of baking as a developmental activity?
Wouldn’t it be nice if the boy celebrated more than one holiday?
Answering these questions led to adding the “Be Creative,” “Be Curious,” “Talk like a Baker,” and “A Letter to Parents” sections to the book. They also led to writing the five additional books that make up the series. And the only reason I’ve stopped rewriting the additional text is that I had to get Cherry Pie to the printer and the remaining books to the illustrator.
So yes, I wrote the books to relive the baking experiences I’ve enjoyed with children, but I’m bringing them to market because I firmly believe that cooking is an important life skill, one that children can begin learning at an early age. I’m starting with baking but stick around. Who knows which cooking skill I’ll choose to write about next?