Carpinello's Writing Pages welcomes Thereza Howling, author of the children's book Rainforest Adventure and Yoga instructor.
First, a bit about Thereza:
Thereza Howling is a certified yoga instructor and currently teaches kids, teens, and adults in Washington State. She is excited to share the result of her love for yoga combined with her experience as a mother of two and years as an Enrichment teacher at a Montessori school. You can learn more about kids' yoga with Thereza on Facebook.
Why did you pick to write books for children?
As a kids' yoga teacher, I am always looking for books providing good themes and action for my classes. Children’s books have a lot of pictures, and sometimes many words follow. With children’s attention span being shorter, sometimes I have to summarize the story instead of reading all the words on the pages of the books. Some of the pages cannot be associated with poses and that stops the flow of a class. This could be good to calm the kids down in between poses, but it could also go the other way if we take too long, and they lose interest in the story. So I decided to self-publish a book which I could use in my classes and also offer this tool to other yoga teachers around the world.
What types of books do you like to read?
I like to read spiritual books, such as Autobiography of a Yogi by Parahamsa Yogananda. In my search for children’s books that I could use in my classes, I have stumbled upon many good ones, such as Never, Ever Shout in a Zoo by Karma Wilson or Todd Parr’s Earth Book or Peace Book. They are colorful, with few words, yet full of action and ideas that leave it open for the reader to expand it.
When you are not writing, what do you like to do?
Aside from writing poems, I like to write on my personal blog, on my book’s blog and a few stories, which may become children’s books in the future. I teach yoga to little kids, elementary aged kids, tweens, teens and adults. And of course, I love to practice yoga myself! It is crucial for yoga teachers to keep their own practice, at a studio or at home. Raising my own kids and taking care of my family is also an important part of my life.
Tell us about the Rainforest Adventure book and how the story came to be.
I have been teaching kids' yoga since 2011 with classes having certain themes. I have noticed how the kids participate more if they know about the theme, and the rainforest is one of them. It is usually taught to students in second grade in the area where I live, so kids love to share what they know with their peers, and I celebrate it by inviting them to share during my yoga classes. I also like to follow a certain order in my classes that is not in any book, so I adapt stories to my class. I felt the need for books that would flow the way my classes do. One day I thought about leading the yoga class with a poem that would talk about the poses we would do, and that’s how the book came to be!
Have you written other books? If so, tell us a bit about them.
When I was a kid, I wrote two books under my grandmother’s supervision. The first one at the age of 5, and the second one I stopped halfway through when I was 13. They were both a collection of poems of mine. The Rainforest Adventure book is the first officially published book, in terms of readers being able to get their own copies. Before that, I could only let friends borrow my books to take a look.
What’s next for your writing? Are you working on a new story?
When I wrote this poem about the rainforest, I wrote four other poems within a couple of days in a creative spree. That was back in 2012. Within a month after my first book got published, I had an idea for a children’s story and am currently working on details, as I know the idea but want to be careful with the words I choose to put in the book. Meanwhile, any of the other poems may get published anytime. I tend to follow my heart a lot on what to put my energy into and when.
What advice do you have for other authors?
Follow your dream and share your story with the world! I know writers with great ideas, but they never find their stories are good enough for publishing and keep correcting them, never finalizing. I think that, as an author, there is a point when you should stop and listen to your heart to see if the story really needs more tweaking, or if it is just your ego with its perfectionism trying to talk you out of it.
Where can readers find you and your books?
Come take a look at my blog about this book and others to be published in the future. I look forward to hearing from you!
My book can be found on Amazon or on my Createspace page.