Kristi Yamaguchi refuses to slow down. Olympic Gold Medallist in Figure Skating? Check. Dancing With the Stars champion? Sure. Workout video? Yep. Devoted philanthropist? Of course. Wife of a Stanley Cup winner (former Carolina Hurricanes player Bret Hedican) and mother of two? Done. Oh yeah, and she writes children’s books.
Born in the year of the pig, Kristi has always taken a particular interest in the animal, and last year decided to make Poppy the Pig the star of her first children’s book, New York Times Bestseller “Dream Big, Little Pig!” (Daughter Keara, now eight, helped choose Poppy’s name, and Poppy’s best friend was named after Kristi’s daughter Emma, now six.)
Fans will be delighted to learn that Poppy is now back in the sequel, “It’s a Big World, Little Pig!” My (almost) six year old daughter Frannie enthuses: “It is so funny, like when it says ‘New Pork City’, and the colouring is beautiful. Poppy had a big talent and she learned that as soon as she travels somewhere she makes friends that she never even knew she would have! I’ve always wanted to see the Eiffel Tower in real life, but at least I could see a picture in this book!”
Kristi was kind enough to make time to answer a few questions for my readers and me.
This Mom: Your daughters are a couple of years older than my two. I’d love to know what their hobbies and interests are these days, and how parenting has changed since they were preschoolers?
Kristi Yamaguchi: My eight year old loves art, reading, Hula dancing. Also singing and dancing for fun. The six year old is starting figure skating, soccer, and singing and dancing for fun as well. Parenting has changed from a more playful/engaging role to now a bit more structured with homework and after school activities.
TM: After all of your accomplishments, what made you decide to write for children?
KY: My two daughters inspired me to write for children. They love books and reading and I wanted to give them something special from mommy. Also, I have always wanted to encourage and inspire kids to reach for their dreams, so this has been a fun way to bring that message to them.
About the second book: It’s a Big World, Little Pig! follows Poppy as she travels to Paris to compete in the World Games. At first, Poppy is nervous about meeting so many new people in a new place. But, ever courageous and supported by her family (and best friend Emma, too!), Poppy begins to realize that although these animals look different, act different, and are from different places, they are all the same at heart. They all smile in the same language!
TM: I would imagine that after a successful debut, there is pressure to come up with an equally great sequel. How did you come up with the theme for this second book, and was it more difficult than the first?
KY: Yes, more pressure! I once again looked back at some valuable life lessons I learned as a young skater and went from there. My very first experience traveling internationally had such an impact on me that I wanted to share some of that. So eye-opening at a young age. This book was more difficult than the first because Poppy is known now, she has a personality to be true to. A fun challenge though.
TM: How would you complete the sentence “This Mom Loves….”?
KY: This Mom loves Italy, skiing, reading, food, and shopping/fashion!
Thanks, Kristi! Be sure to check out “It’s a Big World, Little Pig!”, and Poppy’s first adventure, “Dream Big, Little Pig!”
Disclosure: I received a copy of “It’s a Big World, Little Pig!” for review purposes. Opinions are, as always, my own.