Story after story, you start to see patterns emerge in your writing. I've noticed that I reflect a lot of my own philosophies, hopes and dream in my characters. These things are a reflection of what I value most. They are what I rely on as an artist in my practice. They are I suppose, the essence of what I am trying to teach the children who come to the Lab.
Over time I have built a trove of characters in over 40 stories so we've covered a lot of ground. For example, in Up Up and Away, Wanda Round reflects that I value of CURIOSITY. because I love to learn new things and share them with others. Even if I wasn't writing stories, I'd surely be fining a way to inspire by share my experiences with the people around me. Unfortunately, I can't always go places and have exotic adventures. So Wanda Round does that for me in her inter-dimensional hot air balloon. The kids who go on the adventure with her, traveling to amazing places and meeting surprising new characters easily learning how curiosity for new things brings reward in depth of character, worldliness and skill building!
Here's another example: As an artist, one also must value PATIENCE. It's a fact that artists need a lot of that. Most don't think that every piece of art they make is good enough for audiences. Personally, quite a lot of my own artwork gets shoved into a notebook before I display something I like. Patience is required to get to that point of success. Over the summer we'll also be immersed in my story, Zoopossible: Royal Kingdom. In this story, an eco- conscious, zoologist prince is going to marry a selfish princess who has no respect for the environment. By being patient, with her, he takes the time to find something unique about her to appreciate. And he does find out that at the very least, she's "one of a kind", just like some of the rarest animals in his kingdom. In a twist the Princess returns his tolerance once she feels appreciated and soon becomes kind and generous. The Princess even wears an up-cycled garbage gown at their royal wedding when she understand is that recycling is more precious than any other material since it takes the whole kingdom to create it.
If your kids are coming to camp, they'll be inside Zoopossible with the Prince, helping to change the Princesses mind and physically create what they collaboratively imagine in this fantasy adventure.