Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Book Nook: Dream Big

I recently had the chance to interview Kat Kronenberg, author of Dream Big. In the book, Caterpillar, Tadpole, and Flamingo gaze up at the night sky and wish upon a star for their wildest dreams. Baboon, who can't help but overhear, insists these dreams could never come true. But when he sees Caterpillar turn into a winged butterfly, Tadpole into a dancing frog, and Flamingo into a beautiful pink bird, Baboon realizes that a transformative power exists between these stars and the animals once they truly believe in themselves and their dreams. When Baboon tries out this secret, CATCH-M, his Magical, Mystical, Wished-Upon Star, whooshes down from the heavens to wham! ignite the courage in his chest too, and what happens next is fantastic! 

Inclusive of an Arts/Activities resource section, this richly illustrated book demonstrates that together we can all be inspired to identify and pursue our dreams, no matter how big or impossible they may seem. Dream Big is the perfect heart-warming gift of encouragement for anyone starting a new phase in their life or a great send-off for grads—preschool, high school, college, and beyond!
An Interview with Kat Kronenberg, Author of Dream Big

Q: What was your inspiration behind writing this book Dream Big?

Kat Kronenberg: Ten years ago, my husband and I went to a concert, and my dream was born. The idea to write a book about a smile that would help encourage and empower children and their families to live their best life filled with connection and kindness, hit me over the head like a 2 x 4. I have experienced a lot of heartache in my life. I’ve buried a brother, a sister, a brother-in-law, and both of my parents all very suddenly and at different times. As a result, I have done a lot of questioning and searching for meaning.

One constant. One beauty. One connection and thrill I have found over and over again is the power of a “Big Belly Smile.” A smile that comes all the way up from your belly, through your chest, and radiates from your face—a belief in yourself and your dreams. And I believe your “Big Belly Smiles” invite so much more into your life: a divine light, possibility, hope, the guidance of your wished-upon star. I call this extraordinary experience catching CATCH-M! A moment when your “U-Shaped Bridge” (or smile) connects you to yourself, your head to your heart. It connects you to all that is, and to the power and strength of nature. It also connects us to one another.

A smile can change your mood, your day, the energy in a room. A smile helps make dreams come true! SO let’s all get in the arena of life, dare to dream, celebrate nature, and catch CATCH-M together!

Q: How can parents use games to help kids realize their own strengths and abilities?

Kat Kronenberg: We are multi-dimensional beings. Studies show we learn best when we are stimulated by more than one dimension. If we read a meaningful book, article, and we don’t take some sort of action, it may not take hold in our lives. It remains just a story.

The games and activities on my website are a fun way to make Dream Big more than just a story. They make chasing your dreams personal. They are a way for you to make an individual investment in your own dreams while exploring your strengths and abilities. The games and downloads make having dreams fun, purposeful, and even magical, with some practical steps you can take to make them happen.

The activities are also designed to be shared, which allows for more depth, connection, and self-empowerment. We are not meant to chase our dreams alone. We are meant to share in our dreams and help one another on our different journeys—a success no matter what the outcome. A true confidence builder.

Q: What lessons can children learn from nature?

Kat Kronenberg: Nature is one of our greatest teachers. If we slow down long enough to watch, we can learn all kinds of things. How to achieve different dreams. How things work, like a termite castle that controls the temperature from within. How to live like the birds who don't sow or reap, nor gather into barns, yet they don’t starve (Matthew 6:26). Nature’s list is endless.

Louie Schwartzberg, a talented wildlife photographer says, “Natures beauty opens our hearts and makes us realize we are part of nature. We are not separate from it. When we see ourselves in nature it also connects us to every one of us because it is clear that it is all connected in one…When people see my images of nature they respond with ‘Oh my God’… The ‘Oh’ means it caught your attention. It makes you present. It makes you mindful. The ‘My’ means it connects with something deep inside your soul. It creates a gateway for your inner voice to rise up and be heard. And ‘God’ is that personal journey we all want to be on, to be inspired, to feel like we are connected to a universe that celebrates life.”

This is what nature can bring to each of us. We do not need to see it in an image. We can go out into nature and celebrate these experiences with our children each and everyday if we take the time. SO let’s go outside, breathe in deep the beauty of nature, watch, and learn.

Q: Why are dream so important for kids?

Kat Kronenberg: Dreams are the heart beat of our lives. They are where our passions flow from. Dreams are our hope and inspiration. They are how we know which direction to go in, what goals to set, what thrilling people to meet, etc.

When we are lost, we get confused, annoyed, frustrated, and we begin to experience self-doubt. But to be able to name our dream, to empower oneself by chasing it, and even better, to internalize how great it would feel when you do achieve it, can truly light a person up no matter what age. It gives us a reason to wake up, to work for something, to grow, to evolve and to develop which makes the journey called life way more rewarding.

But the best part of having a dream is sharing your journey with loved ones. To sit at the dinner table or classroom, and talk about your different dreams, brainstorm on how to achieve them, people you can meet to help, books you can read, etc. will help create a strong, lasting bond with fun, purposeful conversations. You can also share your success stories, setbacks, and ideas on what to try next. You learn that the real power of a dream is being in the arena, trying, fighting, striving together. SO no matter what you win because of the gifts you receive like learning new things, meeting new people, connecting and evolving.

Kat Kronenberg is a debut children’s book author living in Austin, Texas. As a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, her hope and dream is that through reading we can encourage one another other to “follow our bliss,” stay in the arena fighting for our dreams, and allow joy and fulfillment to be our internal GPS. In addition to spreading her message through her children’s book Dream Big, she also provides interactive games that promote positive thinking, Common Core aligned discussion and project guides, and free downloadable activity sheets at www.katkronenberg.com.

Dream Big (Greenleaf Book Group, January 2017) will be available from Amazon as of January 10, 2017 and other booksellers nationwide. More information about Kat Kronenberg can be found at www.katkronenberg.com, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube.


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