I am one of those people that love talking to others. And I really truly love listening to people tell me stories about their lives. My boyfriend is always teasing me and telling me that I am too nosy and ask people too many questions. I always disagree and tell him that there is nothing better than being able to get into a very personal conversation and being able to relate to another human being on a humanistic level. The point in a conversation where you realize that you relate to that other person whether it is a similar victory or a deep dark hidden emotion is the most invigorating feeling.
And when you here a good story, you should share it. This one is so good that I couldn’t pass up sharing. This story invokes a very simple feeling that we can all relate too. I think that we all want this, but we get sucked in to our technology driven societies and we get busy and separated from others.
The story of how “Where is my Little Square Bear” came to be is an incredible story that I just couldn’t go without sharing. But to share this story you first have to meet the Hooper family.
I was lucky enough to have Eli be the first author that I was in contact with upon starting with InteractBooks. He has that spunky, energetic, intriguing personality where ideas just flow and next thing you know you have been talking for hours even though it feels like minutes.
The Hooper’s are a lovely family of six from Grass Valley, California. Eli and his wife Kelcey have four very creatively talented children. Kaya, 15, Ethan, 13, Canaan, 8 and Kira, 6. Through my interactions and conversations with them I have come to know that all of these kids are pretty special to the creative process. Kaya has her own YouTube channel called “Kaya’s Favorite Show” (seriously, she is the cutest thing you will ever see) and Kira has a song that is available for download on ITunes. Cannon is the narrator of the square bear book.
It’s no secret where these kids get it from, their dad Eli is a creative genius. He got involved in graphic design after high school and the ball has been rolling ever since. He has done various forms of odd job artistic work from having a screen print shop, doing airbrush art, game development, construction to having some big time graphic clients from Domino’s Pizza to Long John Silvers. On top of his artwork he is also a minister.
And now for the part that I LOVE:
What makes this book so special is that it was done as a family project. The Hooper’s believe in fostering creativity in their children. Eli told me that he likes to do a special creative project with his kids every Monday, which is his off day. All of the Hooper’s had a part in making “Square Bear” whether it be from artistic input to narration. He also said that it is so easy to do these projects because of the accessibility of resources like the InteractBuilder software. Not only were the kids excited about square bear but they also had ownership in it. They all take pride in the success of this book. I took some time to interview the kids.
Why do you like the story? What was your favorite part of the book?
Kaya: I like the story because it’s fun I guess. My favorite page is the one whenever he gets home to the clean room and there is a bump on the bed!
Canaan: I like the rhymes in the story. My favorite page is the Subway when the light flashes on and you see the words on the ground.
Ethan: I like that it is interactive…and not just a flip-the-pages book. I like the Café page and that you can knock on the door!
Kira: My favorite part of the story is that it’s a simple story that could happen in a child’s life (besides running around the city alone of course) but it’s overall message is relatable. I like all the pages for their “artsy” and painted look.
What did you like about the experience of creating the book?
Canaan: It was fun narrating it!
Kaya: I liked helping with the drawings and telling them what to draw.
Ethan: I liked coming up with the ideas for the pages. Getting to imagine together things like “what if you came into the room and …”
Kira: I like how all of us had a part in the book. That dad used various ideas from all of us to create the final story. I enjoyed giving ideas for the drawings and making changes. I really feel a part of the book.
Why is the Square Bear story/book meaningful to you?
Kaya: I don’t know.
Canaan: I like it because me and dad made it.
Ethan: The book is meaningful to me because I can take it with me wherever I go since it’s in digital form.
Kira: It’s meaningful to be because all of our ideas were heard and when I read it I see the whole family in it. I see the different ideas from each person in some way. The book is like a chapter in all of our books for life.
When Eli told me his story I couldn’t help but feel happy. I know that in my own life and in many others, the importance of having family time can often get pushed to the side in this crazy on the go world that we live in. How amazing that is it that one of the InteractBooks was not just one person’s creative spirit but also the creative spirit that represents a family. I think that this is an amazing idea for a family project and a memory that their kids are never going to forget.
Eli and the Hooper clan have done a seriously AMAZING job of building and marketing their book. Each of them own a little part of the square bear.
To Eli and the Hooper’s: I seriously can’t wait to order my square bear coffee mug! Thanks to you guys for being awesome members of the Interactbooks family. Can’t wait to see the next book from this family!