Sunday, May 17, 2009

Author Interview: Coach Pedro

This is the next to last post for Children's Book Week.  Coach Pedro, author of 20 Easy Ways to Help Save the Earth, was kind enough to stop by for an interview to culminate the week.  I will be posting a review of his book later today, but wanted you to get to know the author first.

Coach Pedro Rita resides in Ann Arbor, Mich., with his wife and co-author, Susan Adam-Rita. He works as Coaching Director for Michigan Tigers FC as well as Director of Development for WideWorld Sports Center, a soccer facility with programs for youth players. Coach Pedro is currently working on his next book called Bending a Soccer Ball. For more information, please visit www.coachpedro.com

Write For A Reader (WFAR):  When did you know that you wanted to be an author? 

Coach Pedro (CP):  I always wanted to write about my profession and the experiences that I have had with soccer. But working with children really opened my eyes to the need for more instruction, so I decided to write specifically for them. All my books are related to soccer, even 20 Easy Ways to Help Save the Earth, since it was at the soccer fields where I found the urgency to address this issue of saving our environment.

WFAR:  Would you describe your writing atmosphere to the readers?  Where do you work, when, music, snacks, etc...

CP:  I usually write at home. I live in a quiet place and have the privilege of being surrounded by lots of trees, flowers and birds, so that helps a lot. I keep a little note book with me so that when I have an idea, I can write it down and remember it later.

WFAR:  What do you like to do when you are not writing?

CP:  I like to take care of the garden, and of course, I like everything related to soccer, which usually means I am always working, either teaching or coaching soccer. I really like everything that’s outdoors. 

WFAR:  What are some of your favorites? Author, illustrator, book, color, or any others you’d like to share.

CP:  I have so many favorite authors, books and illustrators. By illustrator, I really admire the illustrator of my book, Murilo. He really gets at what I want and is able to put some “emotion” on the illustrations. A children’s books author I like a lot is Patricia Polaco. She touches my heart with her stories, maybe because she speaks from her own experiences growing up, which is what I do.

WFAR:  What do you find is the greatest challenge in writing children’s books?  Why?

CP:  Perhaps the greatest challenge is to make sure the kids will get involved with the book and enjoy it. I love to hear a kid saying, “I love reading this book.” 

WFAR:  What do you love most about being a children’s book author?

CP:  The contact and acceptance the children show. It is always my biggest reward to hear what lesson the children got from the books. They are not shy to tell you, and it is even surprises me how it touches them and the ideas and lessons they take from it.

WFAR:  Do you have writing mentors or influences?

CP:  The children I work with are my biggest mentors and biggest source of influence. Before publishing a book I always give it to some kids to read it and ask for their input and what they liked or disliked. Since children are very honest, I get the best feedback I could expect.

WFAR:  What’s in the works for you next?

CP:  I am working on my next book, which focuses on issues of inclusion and discrimination and the lessons kids can learn from it. Stay tuned, you are going to love it.

WFAR:  Can you give us the back story behind one of your books. Why did you write it or where did the idea come from?

CP:  Well, the idea of 20 Easy Ways to Help Save the Earth really came from me being at the soccer fields everyday and noticing how much trash kids leave behind. I spent a lot of time just cleaning after them. I noticed that it was happening everywhere I was going to play a game. Within my own teams, I started to talk with them about the importance of living in a clean environment and to take care of what you have. That’s how I came up with the idea of a simple book that could start more discussions and maybe bring more ideas to the table as of what each and everyone of us can do to help save the Earth. It doesn’t need to be a big idea, but small, simple things can help a great deal. 

We also opened a blog call GREEN EARTH, where we post ideas we receive from kids that read the book and are taking action and changing little things at their communities. It is really rewarding. 

WFAR:  What is your favorite piece or book that you have written?

CP:  I really like the Magic Soccer Ball series but 20 Easy Ways to Help Save the Earth is the one I am getting more involvement from kids and parents from all over the world and that’s rewarding.

WFAR:  Tell us something about you that might surprise us.

CP:  I love working in the garden, and I would love to have a bulldog puppy.

WFAR:  Anything else you would like to share with the readers?

CP:  As mentioned before we have a blog called: Green Earth that you can access by going to: http://20easywaystohelpsavetheearth.blogspot.com/.  So send us your ideas and or comments about your views as what to do to help save our environment. Children participating with their ideas and projects are up to get the Golden Green Seal, as a way to recognize their work and respect for their community, school, home, etc. Children’s projects will be consolidate within a foundation we will be opening soon in which we are empowering the children to plan, direct and take action at.  
We also have a campaign that we started 4 years ago, where we send around 4 to 5 big boxes to Brazil filled with used soccer balls, shoes, and clothes that are distributed to very poor kids. The donations and boxes assemble is done by the children we work with and who volunteer their time and effort to give the ones less fortunate to have a better Christmas. Everyone can do a little to brighten a child’s day.


Coach Pedro, thanks so much for stopping by and sharing with us today.

I will be posting a review for this book later today, but until then, here is the book trailer to whet your appetite.

2 comments:

rhapsodyinbooks said...

What a nice gesture about sending the equipment to Brazil. Thanks for getting the interview, it's really enjoyable! (I hope he gets his puppy!)

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