Christine Prill’s Muddy Hands, Sudsy Hands
Keeping your hands clean is all part of life’s adventure!
Christine Prill (author) and John Koneckny (illustrator) have re-released their colorful children’s book Muddy Hands, Sudsy Hands, which is a fun outdoor adventure story, for the time of coronavirus. Here’s an interview with Christine about the book:
How do you educate kids about coronavirus, or any other big issue, without scaring them?
It is always important to be honest with young children. Especially learning important news or information from a loved one is best. With how our world works today, young children are exposed to so much information from others & social media, much of which we are not aware of. Hearing information first hand from a family or close friend would, I suspect, feel less frightening and maintain a sense of trust and open communication. If you are willing to talk with and be honest with a young child, they will likely come to you first.
What’s unique about Muddy Hands, Sudsy Hands compared to other children’s books on health or Covid-19?
The first edition of Muddy Hands, Sudsy Hands was written in 2015. I feel strongly about educating our youth in a fun and memorable way. The book is intended to make a classic “chore” fun with imagination & patterned rhyming to facilitate memory. The second edition was printed in 2020 with COVID19 and updated with CDC guidelines to keep the information relevant and up to date. I am passionate about health and child safety, and I hope I have made washing hands more fun for young children.
How do you make a book that’s interesting to children? What sorts of topics and what sorts of writing and illustrations grab kids’ attention?
Growing up I was always involved with childcare. Between babysitting and summer care positions, I was exposed to the beauty and imagination of young children. Hand hygiene is important for a number of reasons, and teaching kids the importance of washing hands can be made interactive and enjoyable. I believe Muddy Hands, Sudsy Hands incorporates illustrations to augment and facilitate the learning process of routine hygiene. Colors, rhymes, and allowing for imagination instills learning points and can change the way we approach teaching children important topics.
How do you write a book that has a message without the message either getting lost or overwhelming the story?
Allowing for illustrations to guide and be a stepping stone for imagination is what I strived for in the book. I tried to keep sentences brief and to the point. My hope is that a rhyming books stays with children, and they can recite it back without having to know how to read. The child brain is remarkable, and after reading books several times, children are capable of reciting back the lines with or without knowing how to read.
What is the experience like working with an illustrator? How do you decide what style of art goes with your book? And how do you, or the illustrator, decide what scenes to illustrate and how many illustrations to include?
Working with an illustrator was an incredible experience. It’s a collaborative effort that only improves the message of the story and I feel, reaches more of an audience. I had an idea for how I wanted the book to tell the story, but the illustrator was wonderful, and used his ideas as well to create a joint effort in educating children.