I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with Shannon Jones, the author of KeeKee’s Big Adventures in Paris, France. I thought it would be fun for all of us to get to know the person behind the story and how she brought “KeeKee” to life!
5 Quick Questions
- Inspiration to write a children’s book – While living in Amsterdam with KeeKee and traveling in Europe, Shannon and her husband kept seeing cats everywhere, in Paris, in Rome, in Athens. Slowly an idea started to form. How could she combine her love for cats and travel into a fun and interesting – not to mention educational book for children, something that would inspire them to look beyond their own front door?
- Previous Career – Shannon is a very accomplished woman. After graduating from UVA, she embarked on an impressive career in the marketing industry – working for the D.C Convention and Visitors Center, the Discovery Channel, and Starbucks – both nationally and internationally. Currently, Shannon and her husband, Paul, run a marketing agency, Idea Sandbox, that creates remarkable ideas for companies. If that isn’t enough, she also writes the blog Grape Occasions.
- A book/books that influenced you as a child – the Madeline books and Dr. Seuss
- Is there a children’s author/illustrator that you haven’t met, that you would like to meet – Tom Lichtenheld (Cloudette, Good Night,Good Night Construction Site, Steam Train, Dream Train)
- When you are not working, what is your favorite thing to do? Travel! Shannon loves to travel – day trips, weekends away, or adventures an airplane ride away.
So let’s talk about KeeKee’s Big Adventure in Paris!
Over the years, lots of books have been written about Paris, right? Immediately we think of Madeline and perhaps some of you might think about the Anatole books…and what about the Dodsworth books? We talked about those earlier this year. All of those are great choices and have something to offer readers, don’t get me wrong. But KeeKee takes the genre of children’s travel books to the next level, I think.
Having lived all over the world with three children, I do think I am somewhat qualified to speak about traveling with little ones and what catches their imagination. If you are planning a trip to Paris, and you have children, then I would highly recommend picking up a copy of KeeKee’s Big Adventure. Even if you aren’t planning a trip across the Atlantic anytime soon, this is the perfect book to explore a magical city vicariously through KeeKee.
This story provides the purrfect combination of fun and adventure coupled with a healthy dose of French culture and language as well as a guide to the places that KeeKee visits while in Paris. A very handy language guide is to be found in the back of the book – in no time your little darlings will be mastering the art of “Oui, je parle un petit peu francais!”
I would be remiss if I didn’t include one really fun fact. I was fascinated to learn how Shannon selected the illustrator, Casey Uhelski. It seems that she decided to hold a competition – unheard of in the world of publishing – but that is what she did. Illustrators from all over the world submitted work, which she narrowed down and finally selected Casey! I just love the way she has brought Paris to life and so puurrfectly balanced the reality with the KeeKee view.
This is a great book on many, many levels. Those of you who have been reading for a while know that I love books that have a good story, great illustrations, but, more than that, provoke conversations between the person reading and the listener. I, for one, can not wait, until our Little Darling arrives Thursday so that we can sit down and start reading about KeeKee. I know that he will love it – he will probably want to know if George, our cat, has ever been to Paris…sadly, not!
Want to see more of KeeKee? Be sure to sign up for the KeeKeeClub! You will receive…
- First access to new Activities and Posts on KeeKee’s Big Adventures website.
- Behind the Scenes looks at Paris AND the making of the new book, KeeKee’s Big Adventures in Rome (due out mid-November)!
- Fan Stories and Pictures (and a chance to be featured).
- Special Opportunities and Offers.
Now for the giveaway! Shannon has graciously given me a book…to give away to you.