Source: Auckland University of Technology (AUT)
14 Jul, 2020
AUT alumna Cheyney McDonnell has just had her first children’s book published – ‘Thank you for feeding Freckle’. The picture book is for parents to read to children between two and six years old and introduces them to the responsibility and care for animals, while encouraging simple decision making. Thank you for feeding Freckle is available online, and will be hitting New Zealand shelves in August.
We asked Cheyney – who graduated with a Graduate Diploma in Secondary Teaching – a few questions about what inspired her to write the book and how children might benefit from reading it.
What is ‘Thank you for feeding Freckle’ about?
It is a picture book for parents to read to children between two and six years old. The story walks the reader through feeding and caring for Freckle the cat while Freckle’s owners are away. ‘Thank you for feeding Freckle’ introduces children to responsibility and care for animals while encouraging simple decision making. The book is a bridge between a story book and a tablet. It isn’t digital, but it invites children to interact/engage with the pages. Thank you for feeding Freckle is filled with bright, simple images, questions, and fun peek-a-boo flaps.
What inspired you to write the book?
It has always been my dream to write and illustrate a children’s book. Reading is important but it isn’t always enjoyable for children for various reasons (like myself, I was diagnosed with Irlen Syndrome and always struggled with reading). Combining my design and teaching background, I wanted to create a book with lots of visuals and activities to keep young readers engaged and included.
What do you hope children will get out of it?
I hope that children enjoy the book, learn something, and engage with the pages all while spending some meaningful time connecting with the book and whoever is reading it to them. My goal when creating the book was that it would capture the attention and imaginations of all children and is inclusive to children across a broad range of abilities. I also hope the book introduces children to responsibility and care for animals and by falling in love with Freckle, as well as building empathy and compassion.
What was a highlight of writing the book?
Developing the character, designing the graphics and having the graphics assist the writing process.
What was a highlight of studying at AUT?
Studying a Graduate Diploma in Secondary Teaching at AUT was a really positive learning experience. I found the course to be well structured and our tutors, Hilary Wynyard and Michelle Whitten, were kind and supportive learning facilitators. This course provided the most nurturing and inclusive learning experience in all my education and many great teachers came out of our class as a result.
‘Thank you for feeding Freckle’ is available at Booktopia and will be available at Whitcoulls and other leading bookstores in New Zealand from August 2020.