North County author to release second children’s book Oct. 3
A North County author tells the story of an unlikely pair trying out a new hobby together in her upcoming children’s release, “Dough Knights and Dragons.”
The 40-page illustrated book, being released Oct. 3 by Sterling Children’s Books and written by Dee Leone, follows a knight and dragon who bond over their shared love of baking. However, the friends must follow the law of the land and battle one another.
Leone — who recently moved from Houston, is building a home in Rancho Santa Fe and who has been renting short-term properties in Encinitas in the meantime — is also the author of “Bizz and Buzz Make Honey Buns.”
The former-teacher-turned-author, who is also expecting to release another book in February, recently chatted about her writing career and upcoming book.
How did you come up with this story?
I was eating and I was wondering how a certain food came about. It was a different food that I originally wrote the story [about,] as sort of an origin tale for that food. It ultimately morphed into a story about a doughnut.
Both of your books have something to do with baking or cooking. Why have you chosen this reoccurring theme?
My family thinks it’s hilarious because I’m not the greatest cook in the world. I just thought, ‘What would someone else do when they didn’t know how to follow a recipe?’ This was just buzzing in my ear, so I just thought to write about these little bees who don’t quite get it. So, I came up with the idea for the first book and what they would do if they used a little flour and flowers.
How did you get into writing children’s books?
I used to teach elementary school, so I loved reading to my students all the time. Once I stopped teaching and stayed home to raise my own children, I still wanted to have an in with schools, so I started writing for teachers and children. I originally wrote 20 reproducible books with homework sheets and ideas for arts and crafts in different subject matters.
How did you publish those materials?
I subscribed to a number of teaching magazines, and I submitted myself into monthly contests. I sent in a poem, and the editor just called me out of the blue and asked if I could turn that into a 96-page educational reproducible book. After that, she kept giving me more and more assignments. I ended up with 20 projects that started out from one phone call.
Going from that progression to creating the educational materials for children in a school to reading material that children anywhere can read, what does that mean to you?
This is much more fulfilling because you can get this into so many different hands. You have a way to write out a certain message. The kids usually just get it and come up with their own ideas. For “Dough Knights and Dragons,” I would hope they would be encouraged to try different creative problem-solving methods and befriend people who are different than themselves.
What has the response been so far from your stories?
Kids love it when I go to their schools or to the library and read to them. We kind of make it interactive, so we stop throughout the book to sing songs or act out little parts. We play games and get them moving so they’re not just sitting, listening and reading.
When are your next appearances?
Friday, Oct. 6 at 7 p.m.: Pajamarama Storytime at B&N Oceanside
Saturday, Oct. 7 at 11 a.m.: Storytime at Grossmont Center B&N in La Mesa
Friday, Oct. 13: at 3:30 p.m.: La Jolla Riford Library
Saturday, Oct. 21 at 11 a.m.: Storytime at Mira Mesa Market Center B&N
Saturday, Nov. 18 -at 11 a.m.: Storytime at B&N Temecula
For more information about Leone, and to pre-order “Dough Knights and Dragons,” visit www.deeleone.com
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