Diane Page's Bio
Diane Page started her career in education in the late ‘60s as an elementary school teacher, assistant principal and principal. She later piloted a pre-kindergarten program with the Tupelo Public School District and was on faculty with the University of Mississippi.
Her debut publication, The Paraeducator in the Elementary School Classroom, was the first work of its kind written especially for assistant teachers. For nine years, before retiring in 2010, she served as the education coordinator at the Lee County Juvenile Center.
Page’s first children’s book, Bobbs and the Little Boy, sends a resoundingly clear message of normalcy to all children who fear such things as clowns, scary animals and thunderstorms. The Little Boy ever so lovingly explains as children grow and mature, these fears, for the most part, will go away, especially with the friendship of a small, stuffed creature.
Page is also the author of Bobbs and the Little Boy Meet Agnes and Roy and Roo Take a Trip to the Zoo. All three books are masterfully illustrated by Bruce Bigelow.
Page is the proud parent of two grown children, Elizabeth and Leighton, and grandmother of Alston, Avery and Eliza Tyer and Zachary and Natalie Page, whom she calls the most amazing blessings of her life.
Q&A with Diane Page
What do you think makes Bobbs and the Little Boy such relatable characters?
All children have fears, real or imagined. The Little Boy explains the fears in the book to Bobbs in a way that has a calming effect on the little creature.
What lessons can kids learn from the relationship between Bobbs and the Little Boy?
Children learn that having a stuffed animal as a friend is perfectly normal. They also learn that questioning things around us is perfectly normal, and even encouraged.
Did you have a favorite stuffed animal growing up?
Yes, I had a stuffed doll named Hooda. Hooda understood me! We would talk for hours and she knew all of my childhood worries. She also rejoiced with me when I was happy.
Why did you decide to create an actual Bobbs stuffed animal?
Creating a Bobbs stuffed animal just seemed like the right thing to do. Bobbs and the Little Boy evolved by the actual experiences my son had with his Bobbs when he was little. When Leighton misbehaved, his Bobbs was always the partner in crime.
How did you meet illustrator Bruce Bigelow?
Years ago, a mutual friend introduced us. I approached Bruce when I decided to write The Paraeducator in the Elementary School Classroom. We have worked together for more than twenty delightful years.
Was Roy and Roo Take a Trip to the Zoo really inspired by one of your grandchildren?
Yes, definitely! My grandson, Zach, is Roy to a “T”, although he was quite miffed with Nana when he had to be Roy in the book. After reading the book, he told me he really liked being Roy.
Roy and Roo Take a Trip to the Zoo is a great introduction to primary and secondary colors. What are some art activities parents and teachers can do with children to go along with the book’s lessons?
One of the best activities is to correlate the reading of the book with a mini-unit on healthy eating habits. The children look through old magazines and cut out pictures of wholesome foods that match the primary and secondary colors. They can make an individual collage or they can work in groups to make picture collages. Next, there is a Tasting Party. Teachers ask parents to purchase healthy foods for the children to sample. Not only is this educational for the children, but teachers and parents are challenged to select the appropriate foods.
Children also like to create their own zoo animals. Puppet making works well for this activity.
How does your past work as an elementary school teacher and principal translate to your career as a children’s book author?
For me, writing children’s books is a natural progression. I have worked with children all of my professional career, in addition to raising my own two children. I love children and I want to give them meaningful and fun books to cherish.
You visit a lot of classrooms, libraries and bookstores. What kinds of things do you hear from children about your books?
What do I hear from the children? I hear hysterical stories and comments! One lad suggested he buy a stuffed Bobbs creature for his mother. I walked right into that one! When I asked why he wanted one for his mother, he replied, “Cause my mama and my daddy don’t sleep together no more and she needs a Bobbs to keep her warm at night!” Oops!
What’s next for you?
I am very excited about the fourth book, Mr. Zidderdeedee! The projected date for publication is July 2014.