I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Tamara Nicole Pizzoli, author of several noteworthy children’s books. If you saw my posts on Cinderella Around the World, Trickster Tales Around the World, or Gingerbread Stories from Around the World you know I love comparing fairytales and folktales from different cultures, hunting for cultural differences and similarities. Dr Pizzoli has come out with a remarkable new book called “The Ghanaian Goldilocks.”
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When did you realize you want to be an author?
I taught Kindergarten for almost ten years, and I realized pretty early on in my teaching career that story time, or scheduled read-alouds, were my favorite time of day. I enjoyed every part of it…having the kids gather around, listening to them interact with the story and provide commentary, turning the pages, reading with excitement. I’ve kept a journal off and on since I was a teenager, but I remember writing down that I wanted to write books for kids around the time I first started teaching, so I was about twenty.
What were your favorite stories as a child?
I’m the child of a teacher, so we had tons of books at my house. I adored the Berenstain Bears. I also liked the Mother Goose classics, even though the illustrations in the old books were a bit frightening, they also intrigued me. And of course I was into all of the classics: Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk. The Pied Piper is one that has always given me the heebie jeebies. Still does. My favorite book of all-time is Miss Nelson is Missing, and no one can retell fairytales like James Marshall.
What do you hope kids walk away with when they’ve read your books?
I really want kids to walk away with an increased sense of curiosity; I want them to want to learn and know more after having turned over the last page of one of my books. It would be a bonus if their perspective is enhanced.
What/who inspired you to write these books?
Mostly my kids, Noah and Milo. I just pay close attention to them and get these ideas. The illustration for The Ghanaian Goldilocks was based on my son when he was three. He’s this brown kid whose hair turns blondish at the ends when he’s been playing on the beach in the summertime. I also pay attention to what I want them to know, and what’s not already out there, and create accordingly. Aside from that, I draw upon my personal experiences quite a bit when writing. Everyone I know deserves to be in a book of some sort.
The Ghanaian Goldilocks, by Dr Tamara Pizzoli.
“Set in Accra, Ghana, The Ghanaian Goldilocks is a modern twist on the classic Goldilocks fairytale. Like traditional kente cloth, West African culture and themes are woven seamlessly into the story of a boy with sun lightened hair named Kofi, better known to his friends and family as Goldilocks. Like the Goldilocks in the traditional tale, Kofi has been known to get into some trouble here and there, but it’s an unexpected visit to a neighbor’s house that teaches him a valuable lesson of a lifetime.”
F is for Fufu: An Alphabet Book Based on The Ghanaian Goldilocks, also by Dr. Tamara Pizzoli.
“F is for Fufu is an ABC book unlike any you’ve ever seen. Enjoy references to the modern West African tale The Ghanaian Goldilocks while learning more about the culture, people, traditions and staples of the gorgeous country of Ghana…all while practicing your ABCs!”