By Kayla Aldrich, Read to Them staff
Hello, all! We hope your first couple of days with Dragons & Marshmallows has been nothing but magical. While we have had a hard time putting this sweet read down, we took a pause to chat with Dragon's author, Asia Citro! We took the opportunity to her all about science, reading, and what you might learn from this journey alongside Zoey and Sassafras. Let's dive in:
What was your relationship with reading like growing up?
I absolutely always had my nose in a book. I was that kid who maxed out the number of books the library allowed you to check out at once. My parents said they remember having to pry books out of my hands to get me to do anything else (like play outside, or go run an errand). How did you find your way to becoming a writer?
I used to make books when I was very young and I think that always kind of stayed with me. In college I took a lot of writing classes and worked for the writing center for several years. After my daughter and then my son were born, as a full time stay at home parent I got a bit stir crazy and started writing a blog. The success of that blog was what ultimately opened the door for my first publishing deal, but really throughout my life writing was a big part of things. Where did you draw inspiration from when writing this story?
Zoey and her family have very similar interests to my family so I think a lot of the inspiration for her activities and her love of science are inspired by my family/my kids. Sassafras for sure is very similar to many of the family cats we have/have had. I also like to think of Zoey's family as living in a setting like the pacific northwest. I often visit our local forests and streams to think about what Zoey's magical forest might be like. You used to be a science teacher. Why do science and stories fit together so well? My daughter really enjoyed The Magic Treehouse series when she was younger and as a parent I really loved how those tied in actual history/historical events. I thought, gosh, chapter books that tied science in to the storyline would sure be neat -- and that's where I got the seed of the idea for the Zoey and Sassafras series. I think stories can fit well with any subject. Stories are awesome like that. What can we learn from Zooey? From Sassafras?
I hope that readers learn from Zoey to be curious and to keep trying, even when things are hard. I hope they learn from Sassafras that cats are awesome. Hahaha. What have been your favorite reactions from readers about your books?
I just love hearing that readers are enjoying the stories. I love seeing their art and reading their stories inspired by the series. The biggest compliment I think the series gets is when it's the first set of books that new readers really get into. Being the series that starts a love of reading in a kiddo is really a special thing. What is something you hope families get out of reading Dragons and Marshmallows with Read to Them?
I hope that they enjoy reading the story together and it would be extra special if the story inspired them to do some science together afterwards! What advice do you have for young readers and writers?
Read as many different kinds of books as you can. Reading is such an important part of being a writer. It's important to work hard on writing in school, but it's also important to write for fun. I highly recommend keeping a writing/drawing journal.
We have a lot that we can learn from Asia Citro - and we hope there are things you can take away from Citro's wisdom, too. We'll be back for our Friday Reconnect, but in the meantime, be sure to share photos with us of you and your family during the reading event on Facebook, Instagram, andTwitter. Looking for a community to talk about all things Dragons & Marshmallows? Don’t forget to join Flipgrid to share your thoughts with your peers. Be well, all, and happy reading!