As our kids head back to school—or to school for the first time—we’re all hoping they find their friends, their people. Christina Geist, founder & CEO of Boombox Gifts, custom memory boxes, and co-founder of design firm True Geist, explores the topic of friendship in her newest book. Buddy’s New Buddy is about a boy whose friend moves away and his feelings about making a new friend. We spoke to Christina, who is married to NBC’s Willie Geist, about this wonderful new book for kids.
Why did you want to write a book about finding a friend?
This story is about overcoming loneliness and finding new friendships by discovering one thing we have in common, with one person, one day at a time. But, at its heart, it’s a book about how hard it can be when your routines are disrupted and your buddy moves away. It’s about feeling “new,” even when you’re not actually the new kid.
How does this third book compare to your first two?
In each book, Buddy ages a year or two. From his toddler bedtime routine to his family’s back-to-school adventures in my first two books, the friendship journey felt like the right next milestone for my readers to experience along with Buddy. He’s now outside of the home, away from his parents and grandparents, and building a new friendship at school. Of course, big sister Lady is omni-present and ever-helpful, even at school. That’s just the kind of sister she is.
What advice do you offer to anyone who has an idea for a children’s book?
My advice is… WRITE IT! Ideas are easy. Execution is the hard part. I bet 99% of the people out there who have a big idea for a children’s book have not actually written the book. Just go for it.
I write 40-page picture books. They all share the same format. Look at a few in your child’s library, then map out the pages for your book. I use google slides. I draw a dotted line down the middle of the slide, I add my copy in a text box, and then I add illustrator notes in a second text box, similar to stage directions. This helps me literally see the story developing, page by page, so I can decide where I need words and where the pictures will do the heavy lifting.
When do you find time to write and work, as well as parent?
I could tell you about compartmentalization and setting up your own designated office space, close to or within your home – which I do! But, as I write this, I’m perched on a stool in the kitchen supervising my son as he makes scrambled eggs on the stove. So, I guess I’m “working” here this morning.
What are your favorite children’s books for kids?
My son George’s recommendations as he scrambles the eggs: Ferdinand, Curious George and Dinosaur vs Bedtime.
How did you encourage your kids to read?
We started at the beginning. I remember hearing the sound of my own voice reading aloud to my daughter as an infant, and it felt strange. I had never heard myself in that context. And – wait – why was I reading to an infant again?! Here we are, 15 years later, sharing books on our recent beach vacation.