Hello, friends!! If you're a long-time reader, you know that Valerie Bolling is a dear friend (and co-author!) of mine. She has truly become such an important person in my life and I am beyond thrilled to chat with her today about her brand new book that released earlier this month-- Ride, Roll, Run: Time for Fun! written by Valerie Bolling and illustrated by Sabrena Khadija.
Join me in giving a warm welcome to Valerie!
Kailei: Hello, Valerie! And welcome back to my blog. As you know, I always love having you and will always shout out about your books.
Valerie: I so appreciate you, Kailei, and how supportive you’ve been throughout my publication journey.
I’m also thrilled that we’re co-authoring I See Color. It has been such a joy to collaborate with
you on this 2024 title.
Kailei: Aww, thank you, friend. I am still just beyond grateful for that whole process and that we're on that journey together. But for today, I am so excited to talk about Ride, Roll, Run: Time for Fun!
This book really resonated with me and my own kiddos. When I first read it, I even got emotional thinking about my own childhood memories and the friendships I cherished so dearly. I grew up in a neighborhood full of kids my age and I have so many great memories that this book brought to the forefront of my mind.
Can you tell me a bit about the inspiration for this book?
Valerie: I’m glad this book resonated with you and your daughters. I, too, have fond memories of childhood friendships, including playing games together outside. I wrote this book to remind children how much fun they can have just by going outdoors. They don’t need expensive equipment or electronics to have a good time – just their friends and imagination. I hope this book inspires children, and their adult readers, to head outside to play!
Kailei: I love that so much! And absolutely agree. Nothing like playing outside as a kiddo! Do you have a favorite spread or a favorite line in this book? Maybe a favorite play activity that the kids are doing?
Valerie: All of the spreads are wonderful, thanks to Sabrena Khadija’s beautiful art. I especially like the basketball spreads, however, because all of the characters are involved in the game, either as players or as cheerleaders from the sidelines.
Kailei: Those really are great spreads! And as a whole, I love the illustrations in this book! The colors are so bright and vibrant and of course I love seeing such a beautifully diverse group of kids. Can you tell us a little more about working with Sabrena?
Valerie: As you know, Kailei, it’s rare for a traditionally-published author to communicate directly with an illustrator during the creation of a book. That said, it has been wonderful to work with Sab on Ride, Roll, Run. They are such a talented illustrator. What captivated me are their vibrant, energetic art that conveys the joy, movement, and sense of community I sought to evoke.
Kailei: They really did do such a great job! I always love hearing more about that collaborative process. It is such an interesting dynamic not talking directly with each other, but it's so amazing how the entire publishing team works together to make that happen. Now shifting just a bit, Valerie... you are such a prolific author! I know we recently talked about Together We Ride and I know you have more than 5 other books slated for release over the next couple of years. It’s amazing and I’m in awe at all you are doing. Can you tell us just a bit about how you are managing it all?
Valerie: Sometimes, I honestly don’t know how I’m managing it all. It’s a challenge because I also have a full-time job as an instructional coach. I try to make the most of my time outside of school, especially on weekends and during holiday breaks. In addition to making time for writing, I carve out time for exercise and visiting with family and friends. Trying to honor and balance all that’s important to me is not easy, but I do my best to manage my time accordingly.
Kailei: I think that is so important, Valerie. And from my perspective, you are doing it all so well! Now back specifically to Ride, Roll, Run. What do you hope that young readers will take away from your book?
Valerie: I hope young readers will go outside and play with their friends. I want them to know that they should have fun! That’s an important part of life, especially for children. So many skills are learned during play – not only physical skills but also how to communicate and work together to accomplish a goal.
Kailei: That really is so wonderful. And to get a little personal, my husband and I were just talking the other day about how we feel like the pandemic has really been at a formative time in our own children’s lives and how they haven’t really had the same “friend experiences” that we grew up with because of that. Of course, as things improved, we were able to have outdoor playdates, pool meetups, etc. but there’s still definitely a sense of things not being quite the same. And truthfully, your book gave me both a peace about what we have been able to give our kids, as well as so much hope for all the experiences and moments that are still going to come for this young group growing up during a global pandemic. So thank you for that!
Valerie: Thanks for sharing that, Kailei. We can’t deny that the pandemic has affected so many things, including kids’ ability to play with friends. I really hope those days of children running and jumping together have returned.
Kailei: Agreed! Before I let you go, is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers today?
Valerie: Readers often want to know what’s coming next, so I’ll give an update.
In 2023 there will be sequels to my 2022 books titled,
TOGETHER WE SWIM and
BING, BOP, BAM: TIME TO JAM!
My Scholastic Acorn early reader series, RAINBOW DAYS (illustrated by Kai Robinson), is also
scheduled for release in 2023.
In 2024, our book, I SEE COLOR (illustrated by Laylie Frazier), will be published. (If you missed it earlier, Kailei and I have co-authored a book!)
To keep up to date
about my books, please check out my website: https://valeriebolling.com.
Kailei: Wow, Valerie! That is truly amazing!! I am thrilled for all of your successes and can't wait to read all these other books on the horizon. Thank you again for joining me today and for taking the time to tell us more about the wonderful Ride, Roll, Run: Time for Fun!
About Valerie Bolling
Valerie Bolling is the author of the 2021 SCBWI Crystal Kite award-winning and CT Book Award finalist LET’S DANCE! (March 2020). In 2022 Valerie is happy to welcome TOGETHER WE RIDE (April) and RIDE, ROLL, RUN: TIME FOR FUN! (October). Sequels to these books (TOGETHER WE SWIM and BING, BOP, BAM: TIME TO JAM!) as well as a Scholastic early reader series, RAINBOW DAYS, are slated for 2023. I SEE COLOR will be published in 2024.
A graduate of Tufts University and Columbia University, Teachers College, Valerie has been an educator for almost 30 years. She currently works as an Instructional Coach for Greenwich Public Schools and, additionally, teaches picture book writing classes. She is also a WNDB mentor and deeply immersed in the kidlit writing community, particularly involved with SCBWI, the 12X12 Picture Book Challenge, and Black Creators HeadQuarters.
Valerie and her husband live in Connecticut and enjoy traveling, hiking, reading, going to the theater, and dancing.
About Kailei Pew
Kailei Pew is a wife, mother, and children's book author represented by the amazing Emily Forney of Bookends Literary. She loves to write books that help kids see they can
do anything they set their minds to.
Upcoming books include:
THE MONSTER ABOVE THE BED (Clarion/Harper, Fall 2023)
I SEE COLOR (With Valerie Bolling, HarperKids, Winter 2024)
KID MADE (F& F/Macmillan, Spring 2024)