Today we're talking with Dianne de las Casas, author of There's a Dragon in the Library
FQ: As the daughter of a career librarian this was an absolute joy to read for me. Were you a "constant" in the library when you were a kid?
I lived all over the world as a child and didn't always have access to American television, which was probably a good thing. It encouraged me to fuel my imagination by going to the library and immersing myself in books. It was the discovery of books like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Mrs. Piggle Wiggle, and Dorrie the Witch that began my insatiable appetite for children's books.
I even began my storytelling career in the library. First, I was a volunteer, doing Saturday story times. As my repertoire and boldness grew, so did my audiences. From there, I branched out into the world of professional storytelling. My book, There's a Dragon in the Library, is an ode to the fantastical world of libraries, books, and imagination.
FQ: I realize that you also are a recording artist. Do you perform at various children's events?
I have recorded three award-winning children's storytelling audios. You can say that my storytelling has taken me places! I perform at events around the world. I feel very blessed that being an author and storyteller is my full-time job. How cool is that?!
FQ: Your website is incredible. What got you into storytelling and artistic literacy programs for kids?
Thank you for your kind words regarding my website. I have a fantastic web designer, Heidi Hafner, who does AMAZING work on my site. I love how the arts can change the way children perceive learning and literacy. Knowing this, I decided to make it my mission to reach children through the art of storytelling. In this capacity, I perform storytelling programs and author visits for kids. I am passionate about my work and feel a special connection with children. I would love for every child to grow up not only knowing how to read but LOVING the act of reading.
FQ: I also see that both your daughters have their own websites? You must be amazingly proud of their talents!
My 20 year old daughter, Soleil, is in her third year at Louisiana State University as a graphic design and illustration major. She is very artistic. She's a talented illustrator and make-up artist. Soleil has illustrated several of my professional titles as well as done graphic design work for me. I can't wait to see where life takes her.
My 10 year old daughter, Eliana, is a kid chef. She has authored a cookbook for kids called Eliana Cooks! Recipes for Creative Kids. She has a website, a Facebook fan page, and she tweets. She's always in the kitchen and is working on her next cookbook. She performs cooking demonstrations for families and signs lots of books - at ten years old! My girls are phenomenal and I am very proud of them.
FQ: You travel all over the globe. Is there a certain place that you love visiting again and again?
I tend to visit the Philippines pretty often. My mom is from the Philippines and it is the country of my birth. I have a great fan following in the Philippines and I love seeing my family when I visit. There are so many places in the world I haven't visited! My bucket list includes: Africa, Australia, Greece, and China.
FQ: I see you also have a line of professional books for the teacher or librarian. Encouraging literacy and helping students achieve better grades and higher goals through art and creativity is an amazing goal. Has this always been your dream?
I love teaching educators and librarians about the power of storytelling. My professional resource titles use storytelling as a foundation to teach across the curriculum. What is incredible is the exponential power of teaching educators. If I train 30 educators in a single workshop, they will, in turn, use the techniques with a class of 30 kids. They may use the techniques throughout the course of their teaching career. When I think of my "legacy," that is what I think about. I had a teacher who encouraged my gifts and loved me unconditionally. Now I want to pay it forward. Maybe I can touch a teacher in way that helps her reach a child. That kind of power is the gift that keeps on giving.
It has always been my dream, since the second grade, to write books for children. I am living that dream now and am very grateful for the many blessings bestowed upon me.
Please also check out my blog about our book launch party for There's a Dragon in the Library this past weekend: storyconnection.net/blog