McArthur Krishna - Behind Her New Book
What Would It Be Like is a beautifully illustrated, empowering book for children that teaches young girls (and boys) that they can be whomever they choose to be. The Children's Book Review called it, "a fun and inspirational book for children and adults." We sat down with the brilliant author, McArthur Krishna, to discuss her thoughts and inspiration behind the powerful and motivational children's book, set to release July 5th.
AJ: When and why did you begin writing children’s books?
MK: I started writing children’s books for my true love nephews. They deserve the credit. I had spent lots of time playing with them--but I was moving to India. I was bereft to leave them. So, I started writing down our adventures so they would remember them. And, oh yes, my man who pushed me to go to a conference, where I met an editor who let me pitch to her… And here we are.
AJ: What’s the best part about writing books for children?
MK: I am not a naturally silly person, but writing and reading to kids forces me to let loose, dig in, and squirt silliness every which way. And their delight delights me.
AJ: What inspired you to write What Would It Be Like?
MK: I grew up with a mom who was clear--I could be anything I wanted to be. But not every girl has that cheerleader or clarity. When I moved to India I left being a business woman and needed a new job... And that led me to realizing there was an opportunity to celebrate. Besides, I once read "The best thing you can be is yourself. If you can't be yourself, be a pirate!" And then I read about Back From The Dead Red and thought, "ooooooo." Yes, literally that's what I thought. She was so creative and tough and a strong leader and, despite her poor moral choice to steal, I liked her. All this converged into daydreaming WWIBL.
AJ: Why did you decide to move to India?
MK: True love!
AJ: What kind of work do you do there?
MK: One of the things this move has done is made me let go of a very narrow definition of what I do. (Sidenote: Our culture almost always asks that question first. In India the first question is "where do you belong?" as people try to figure out your family network.) In the USA I had a crisp definition of what work I did. Now, it's a very satisfying hodgepodge. I write books. I work with village women to support their efforts for respect and independence. I support artisans. I design. I consult on marketing and business development to several companies. I infiltrate. I practice being a wife. I seek. And last but no way least, I'm a mother to three magical and bright daughters.
AJ: What do you hope What Would It Be Like teaches young children?
MK: Delight in possibility...I think it is often true that you can't be what you can't see. And while we may not want our children to be real-life pirates, I would love for children to be as creative, bright, strong, resilient, and determined as these historical women.
AJ: What was your favorite book as a child? Why?
MK: This is an impossible question--it changed all the time! My mom introduced me to Caldecott books and I thought every book was superb. I swooned for each new one. In no particular order, I read and was charmed by these in elementary school:
Where the Wild Things Are Wrinkle in Time Series Black Stallion series Boxcar Kids Louis L'Amour- all 120 volumes Island of the Blue Dolphins Tikki Tikki Tembo Seven Chinese Brothers Caps for Sale Encyclopedia Brown The Great Brain The Rats of NIMH
Looking at this list, I see one consistent element-- the author wove a story that could whisk me away to a grand adventure. I could see and experience things never possible to a small town West Virginia girl-- or kids anywhere. That's the power of storytelling... And why I delight in writing for Amberjack and the Little Adventures series.
AJ: Do you have ideas for future books? What are they?
MK: I'm writing one now about not waking a baby--it will never be published as there are many of those--but that's my current passion! I'm also playing around with simply a title as a starting place--The Girl from Mullumbimby. Isn't that an enchanting town name? And, I just asked my magical and bright daughters and they suggested: The Hungry Monster. I think that's a not-so-subtle hint to quit writing and go feed them!
About What Would It Be Like:
Follow one young girl on her adventure to the library where she learns about an array of real-life women who made history with their bold ambitions – finding out that girls can do anything!
Would you like to sail the seas as a pirate like Jacquotte Delahaye? Swing, flip and sparkle as a trapeze artist like Antoinette Concello? Work toward making the world a better place as the president of a country, or touch one special life as a mother? Readers will learn about amazing women who followed their dreams and believed anything was possible, while also learning that often the best thing to be is yourself!
About the Author:
McArthur Krishna has written for Amberjack Publishing under the name Auntie M. In 2015, her books Mana’kai Dreams of Hawai’i and Talon Wrestles an Anaconda launched the Little Adventures imprint. They introduce you to adventure, new ideas and friends from all kinds of life. Coming in July 2016, What Would It Be Like? introduces girls to the bold ambitions of famous and daring women from around the globe.
McArthur has always been a shape-shifter. She’s been a business-woman, river guide, window-washer, waitress, Forest Service archaeologist technician assistant, graduate student, backpacker, daughter, sister, vixen, traveler and some day, hope-to-be true companion. She has a good story to tell from all of these adventures. While she grew up in dancin’ wild and wonderful West Virginia, Auntie M now lives in rural and riotous India on a wild adventure. She vowed to never be bored in her life!
“Now, I write to shift the shape of the world. I hope the stories that bloom from the bliss ride of life are as delightful to read as they have been to create.”