We'll Paint The Octopus Red by Stephanie Bodeen
We'll Paint the Octopus Red is a charming, thoughtful picture book about a little girl named Emma who is getting ready to welcome home a new baby brother. Emma is so excited about the arrival of the new baby and plans all kinds of activities that they will do together, including going to the art festival and painting a picture with a rubber octopus. But when her brother Isaac is born, her father explains that he has Down syndrome. Emma now begins to wonder if her new brother will still be able to all of the things she planned, to which her father says with patience, help and love, there probably isn't anything Isaac can't do.
Illustrated by Pam DeVito, We'll Paint the Octopus Red is as endearing story that shows how both Emma and her father realize that baby Isaac is the perfect baby for their family. The book also comes with a Q&A that centers on commonly asked questions about Down syndrome. The focus of this book is how brothers and sisters and their families may react to a Down syndrome diagnosis as well as reassures all that there is nothing that the new baby cannot do.
Q&A with Stephanie Bodeen
Omaha Family: How does it feel to have a book written 17 years ago still be a comfort for so many here and now?
Stephanie Bodeen: Amazing. I always just hoped maybe someone would read it.
Omaha Family: What was your favorite illustration from We'll Paint the Octopus Red?
Stephanie Bodeen: I love the one where they are at the farm feeding the calf.
Omaha Family: How did being in Tanzania (in the Peace Corps) help you as a writer?
Stephanie Bodeen: Handwritten letters were the main form of communication with all my loved ones and friends. I think all the practice helped.
Omaha Family: How difficult is it to put into words the varied type of stories that you tell?
Stephanie Bodeen: Very, because I really can't.
Omaha Family: How exciting is it to receive awards/accolades for your work?
Stephanie Bodeen: Very surreal. It's still hard to believe that someone wants to read my book, let alone give it an award.
Omaha Family: What encouragement do you have for the adult who wants to follow their passion as you did when you began to write?
Stephanie Bodeen: You have to push aside the doubt and just do it.
Omaha Family: If you were not writing, what would you be doing?
Stephanie Bodeen: My degree is in education, so I'd be teaching.
Omaha Family: If you could meet one person, living or not, who would that be and why?
Stephanie Bodeen: Stephen King. I'm a huge fan.
Omaha Family: If you could travel to one place on earth where would you go?
Stephanie Bodeen: I have always dreamed of going to Greece. Hopefully I'll make it there one day.
Omaha Family: If you could have one super power what would that be?
Stephanie Bodeen: I've always been a runner. I think I'd love to run really, really fast.