Dianne Dodsworth, a Sayulita local, has published a children’s book for the children of Sayulita and their families. The book is available in both Spanish and English both online at amazon, and at our local book stores and shops in Sayulita. I talk with Dianne a bit about herself, her inspiration for the book, and what she hopes to contribute to the community of Sayulita.
Dianne, please tell me about yourself and your background in terms of writing books.
I have my doctorate, and am both an elementary teacher and university teacher in early childhood and elementary education. I specialize in early literacy, science, mathematics, teaching and learning, and in creating children’s books about animals that inspire children to be strong, courageous, and to believe in themselves. My scientifically accurate books are inspired by the animals that I encounter around me and I use them to show children that there is much to be learned by watching what surrounds them when they are outside in the natural world.
Where did you find your inspiration for your book, Pedro’s Dream?
Sitting on the deck at my casa in Sayulita, I watched the pelicans as they dove for fish, groomed, sunned themselves and slept on the nearby rocks. I thought about how challenging it must be for the young pelicans to take their first flights, to leave their nests and to employ bravery, skill, and a bit of gutsiness as they take to the sky and sea. I thought that children face similar situations as they grow and become independent. With that in mind, and noticing a lack of books for children written in and about Sayulita, I wrote Pedro’s Dream/ El Sueno de Pedro in English and Spanish.
What is the book about?
Pedro, like every other baby pelican, has just hatched from his egg and is ready to explore his world. The illustrations, with their heartfelt appeal to children, lovingly show him watching the pelicans as they dive into the ocean for food. After being fed by his mother, Pedro snuggles in for a nap and dreams that he has joined the big pelicans for his first attempt at diving for food. As this beautifully written and illustrated book continues, Pedro, in his dream, is successful in his diving for food and the excitement of that moment awakens him to his parents’ call for him to learn how to fly and catch food. His dream has given him confidence and self-assurance to follow his parents’ wishes. My goal was to create a book that children could relate to because it parallels their experience in the world. The children really engage with Pedro’s Dream because they can put themselves in Pedro’s place and see that, by being brave, strong and resilient, they can succeed. Children love Pedro and, after they read the book, they often write their own stories, based on Pedro’s Dream.
Did you do any kind of research for the book?
I researched widely on the brown pelicans of Sayulita, their nest building and parental duties (both female and male take care of their young) and their fishing. I think it’s very important for children to have access to books that are educational and factual as well engaging for them to read. This book is geared for ages up to 10 and is written and illustrated intentionally to appeal to children this age.
From idea to book, what was your process to get the book made?
From idea to book launch in Sayulita took two years. The art-work was commissioned to a young exchange student who was learning English. Dong was very eager and excited to do the artwork and has since gone on to a career in art as a result of his work on Pedro’s Dream! The art-work captured the spirit of the book and of Sayulita beautifully.
How are you hoping to contribute to the Sayulita community?
Pedro’s Dream/El Sueno de Pedro was launched in Sayulita and the books are available here. My dream is to be invited to local pre-elementary and elementary schools and into the community for readings to children and their families, and to interact with the children as I explain the writing process of Pedro’s Dream, thus inspiring young readers and writers. I would also like to donate books to schools and community family literacy resources. I usually donate 10 books a year to SayulitAnimals, a charity that I am fond of, as I personally adopted a rescue three years ago. My whole family, including grandchildren and family friends come to Sayulita frequently, so we all feel as though we are a part of this lovely and welcoming town.
What is your next project?
In progress now is my next book, titled, “Charlie, Lost and Found in Sayulita”; it is a story about Charlie, a small spaniel, who had a secret life on the streets of Sayulita. Through his resilience, bravery, and sheer cunning, not only does he survive on the streets, but finds a loving home. The story is about Charlie’s adventures on the street, including the kindness of the people of Sayulita he meets along the way. The story and illustrations will highlight the daily life and recognizable landmarks of Sayulita and will be written in both English and Spanish. Stay tuned!
They can also be found here in Sayulita at the bookstore in Spanish, and at the Sayulitescue Kiosk (the stand in the plaza) in both English and Spanish.
*Written by: Aanya Sheikh-Taheri & Dianne Dodsworth