Tell me about yourself!I am Kelly Greenawalt. I am the freckle-faced adoptive momma of four amazing kids. My husband, Chuck, and I have been married for 18 years. I consider myself a “stay in the car mom”. It’s a thing! My hair is forever in a pony tail, my yoga pants are black, my minivan is awesome and I’m always picking up or dropping off someone or something somewhere. But when I’m not you can usually find me reading a book, tackling Mt. Laundry, baking something yummy or click-clacking away at the computer because there is a story in my head that insists on coming out.
What inspired you to write children's books?
I grew up poor in a big city with a fantastic mother that checked out library books for us by the bagful. Reading together was free and fun. We read books about royal elephants, rabbits that wore jackets, little girls that lived in Paris and mice that baked delicious goodies. Sometimes, as an extra special treat, our mother would tell us elaborate bedtime stories about little girls that lived in a world made entirely of chocolate. In elementary school, I found my voice and started telling stories of my own. These days writing comes as naturally as breathing. It’s something I have to do.
Your protagonist, Princess Truly, is a black girl. Did you intentionally set out to create books featuring a girl of color? Why?
All four of my children are black. After watching her favorite Disney movie for the hundredth time, my youngest daughter, Kaia, announced that her hair wasn't special or beautiful. She'd never seen a black princess with natural hair and so she decided her gorgeous puffy curls were ugly. I was shocked and heartbroken. I set out to find a character she could identify with and came back empty handed. If I couldn’t find a story, I knew I had to write one. Princess Truly was born.
Princess Truly has magical hair. Talk to me about why it was important to have a black female character with magical hair...or was it?
I’ve always been drawn to magical realism. When perfectly ordinary things become extraordinary, it makes my heart happy. Princess Truly is a character most girls can relate too. She’s smart, helpful, friendly and kind. She’s a leader; a problem-solver. Magical hair is just the icing the on the cupcake. I firmly believe that books act as windows and mirrors; a way of learning about ourselves and others. I wanted every little girl that read a Princess Truly tale to see themselves in the story. I wanted them to feel special!
What’s next for Princess Truly? What other adventures will she be going on?
Princess Truly and Sir Noodles will need scarves and mittens and boots on their next adventure – a frosty fairytale featuring three sisters and a snow ballerina.
There are so many fabulous books out now for kids of color, including my own: