My debut picture book, Little Medusa’s Hair Do-Lemma, is rooted in family tradition. Many traditions are a blast, like popping crackers on New Year’s Eve. Or sometimes, they’re a bit outdated, like eating the same dishes for every special occasion simply because that’s what has always been done.
For my book, Little Medusa is torn between following family customs and being happy with herself. She’s the first Gorgon who doesn’t like serpents wriggling in her hair. More importantly, she begins doubting if she wants to scare anyone to stone with a stare!
So how did Little Medusa ever enter the
scene? Queue a serendipitous combination of what I call the 3Ls--the Library, my daughter’s Locks, and the Laundry room.
When my daughter was little, we routinely attended events at our local library. They showcase everything from musicians to puppets, petting zoos to performers. One such show happened to feature reptiles. My girl was bouncing to see the lizards and snakes. Me? I was rather stone-footed; reluctant; ambivalent. Because you know…
Twitchy-tongued, slithering, slimy snakes!
But I couldn’t let my daughter know that I was squeamish. I wanted her to have her own experience and not let my biases influence her. So I smiled, said yes, and was dragged to the front row.
What was I thinking?!
Turns out the reptile show was fascinating and dare I say, super cool! I discovered that snakes aren’t slimy; in fact, their skin is very smooth and their scale patterns are intricate works of art! Snakes are vital to the ecosystem, too. And those twitchy forked tongues are how snakes smell! (They’re also pretty perfect for hissy kissies.) Intrigued by these amazing creatures, I borrowed a few books on snakes and began penning a few storylines.
Fast forward a few weeks and I was scribbling away on the final lines for kidlit magazine feature. Not to mention that I was also frantically running holiday menu items through my head.
Traditional foods to make.
Deadline days away.
Ingredients to be sourced.
Editor to please.
Family tastes to please.
BUZZ! The dryer beckoned.
(Multi-tasking at its best!)
Hangers in hand and words on my mind, I raced to fold the clothes. At the same time my daughter trotted in, asking me to braid her hair before a playdate.
I whipped around and found myself face to face with a miniature Gorgon! My daughter literally looked like a snake had curled itself through her long locks. A little Medusa!
OH! A “little Medusa”…snakes….a new story idea!
With these thoughts coiling through my mind, I took a deep dive into Medusa’s mythology and wrote, then wrote even more. What if like me, Little Medusa had some family customs she wanted to change? How would she do that? Could she even do that?
Well the rest they say is hissss-story. And as for that particular holiday dinner? We kept a few traditional plates, plus I introduced two new delicious dishes; which by the way may become table traditions of their own!
Jennifer & Little Medusa are excited to offering a manuscript picture book critique! To be eligible to win, comment below and share this blog post on social media. One winner will be chosen at random
Jennifer Buchet is an award-winning author, pre-kindergarten educator and self-proclaimed foodie. Her kid lit career officially started in 2011, writing for Cricket Media. Today, she is a feature contributor for Faces magazine while also creating new picture books and chapter books, many which feature mouth-watering meals and even a few cute, twisty serpents.
Her debut picture book, LITTLE MEDUSA’S HAIR DO-LEMMA (Clear Fork Publishing) launches May 2021.
You can swap tales & recipes with Jennifer here:
You can also pre-order Little Medusa’s Hair Do-Lemma here
THANK YOU, Jen Buchet, for sharing your story!
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