Quite a few parents have asked how I came up with Dean and Lisa, the two 'earth' characters that turns up throughout my books, asking questions and pointing out facts to the young readers.
Truth be told, I did not come up with Dean and Lisa. This is what happened.
|An early draft of Dean and Lisa. The final picture ended up in Global Warming for Young Minds.|
When I showed an early manuscript of Global Warming for Young Minds to my daughter, her reaction was far from what I had expected.
'It is boring,' she said after having flicked through just a few pages.
Expecting the worst, I finally managed to whisper: 'Why?'
'Its a children's book, but there is nothing in it for children,' came the honest answer.
This was quite a watershed moment for me. Having spend months trying to write an interesting non-fictional book for children, and then find that my target audience thought it was boring because it lacked something for children was quite hard to take.
So I asked what she would do to make the book more appealing for children, and my daughter immediate suggested that I create a boy and girl character. And when I asked her about their names, the thought for a moment before saying 'Dean and... Lisa'.
The rest is history as they say. Many weeks, drafts and discussions later my focus group of 1 was finally happy. Hurray!
The Dean and Lisa characters ended up being based on the Earth, enforcing the idea that they are 'Children of the Earth' and that if we look after and protect the Earth, we also look after and protect our children.