Join author Courtney Spain Aragon on Sunday, December 4th at 2pm at DIESEL, A Bookstore in Larkspur to celebrate her debut picture book, Fraydo the Dragon: A Very Big Problem!
Get ready for a VERY entertaining reading by Courtney followed by fun activities including Dragon Snacks, a Marshmallow Catapult Workshop Challenge, as well as Fraydo’s Pen Pal Program — where your child can write or draw a picture and send it to any character in the story. The characters will write back!
I am extremely excited to share an exclusive interview with author, Courtney Spain Aragon.
Congratulations on the release of Fraydo the Dragon: A Very Big Problem!, your debut picture book. Can you tell me more about the book and what inspired you to write Fraydo the Dragon?
“Fraydo the Dragon: A Very Big Problem! is a funny story for children about friends solving a problem together. It starts with a Dragon —Fraydo— who thinks he is a dog. And so the kids have to put their ‘problem solving’ hats on and to figure out why before Fraydo destroys the medieval village. After a reading, we dive into many topics that can range from serious stuff like friendships and differences to the silly stuff like finding all the ‘easter eggs’ throughout the picture book. The conversation is never, ever dull and the kids have a great time.”
“My inspiration continues to be my silly, creative and funny son, Aiden. We make up stories all the time together and he helped with the plot and character development of this book as well. If Aiden liked the storyline then I knew the other kids would as well. He is a natural story teller as well as an editor!”
I’d love to know a little about your journey as an author. What did you do prior to becoming a book author?
“Throughout my professional career, I’ve enjoyed learning from those in both the creative and design industries and was a professional storyteller of brands for companies like Autodesk and Adobe Systems.
But for all the excitement around creating brand campaigns and launching products, I always kept coming back to the power, influence and silliness of creating stories for children.
For me, storytelling is a powerful influence that can help shape attitude and change perspectives. It can give courage and hope as a way forward. Or simply provide comfort and love. For me, creating stories for children is one of the most important ways I can give back to the world and truly make a difference.
When I hear children laugh as they listen to one of my stories, the world is a wonderful, magical place...and I'm reminded that I'm on the right path.”
So, your career was in marketing and branding for large companies. What was that ah-ha moment that inspired you to take that leap as a children’s writer? What advice would you give to others interested in writing children's books?
“I’ve been writing and telling stories my entire life. I always look for a chance to jot down a paragraph or flush out an idea for one of my creative projects. And, having surrounded myself with other creative types throughout my life—especially those who belong to the SCBWI and AIGA design community —I constantly aspire to the creative geniuses around me — of which there are many.
But “The Leap”? Well, the real leap is one I make every day. The leap is to believe in your work. To believe in yourself. To be open minded and get advice from those you respect —but to then have the power to decide what direction to take that advice. The leap is to believe that you made the correct choice—that you are on the right path.”
How was it collaborating with award winning illustrators Xi Luo and Bo Wu?
“My art director, Anne Digges, and I are incredibly grateful to our award winning creative team and the 20 years of children illustration experience they drew upon to illustrate Fraydo The Dragon: A Very Big Problem!
When New York Art Agent, Stacey Endress, brought the our manuscript and storyboards to the attention of illustrators — Xi Luo and Bo Wu— the creative team was immediately drawn to the story and its big hearted main character, Fraydo the Dragon. Persistent and sometimes naughty, energetic yet well-intentioned, Fraydo the Dragon reminded them of their own son and they folded these characteristics into the design process.
And we look forward to working with them on the entire Fraydo the Dragon Series.”
Will there be more books like this?
Fraydo the Dragon is more than just one picture book. We have developed an entire online presence where kids can join Fraydo the Dragon Club.
There kids can follow Fraydo the Dragon and his friend Pee Wee on all their adventures. They can:
Take part in exciting Fraydo the Dragon S.T.E.A.M Project Challenges and win a specialCertificate of Awesomeness along the way!
Access Fraydo the Dragon's private Workshop Blog — where Fraydo the Dragon will keep you up to date on all the happenings within the Kingdom of Aragon.
Courtney Spain Aragon debut book, Fraydo the Dragon: A Very Big Problem! (the first in the series) is out on shelves now.