By Samantha Bradley | Photo courtesy of Julia Durango
Are you looking for a book to read to your children that features volunteering, community togetherness and diversity? Author Julia Durango recently published a children’s book called “The One Day House,” which features all of those topics and more. I interviewed Julia Durango to learn more about her and her new book.
What is “The One Day House” about?
It is about a little boy named Wilson who has an elderly neighbor and friend named Gigi. He visits her throughout the year and looks around at Gigi’s house, which is getting older and falling down. Wilson says to Gigi, “One day I’m going to paint your house, one day I’m going to fix the windows so you can feel the breeze, one day I’m going to fix your balcony, one day I’m going to fix your fence so you can have dogs.”
He is young, but you can see in the illustrations that adults in the neighborhood hear him making these promises to Gigi. Finally, all of these neighbors come together one day and do all of the things Wilson planned. It is really a story about volunteers, community effort and coming together to help your neighbors.
Who inspired you to write your book?
This specific book was inspired a friend of mine named Bill Cairns. Bill is a retired carpenter and for the past 15 years he has been a lead carpenter for a community-wide volunteer event in Ottawa, Illinois called Labor of Love. In this organization, volunteers in the community get together to help people in need fix up their houses. If a person needs a new roof, a window repaired or a new furnace, the group gets it done. Hundreds of people come out during the Labor of Love events to help their neighbors. When I first heard about the event from my friend Bill, I thought I would write a book to share the community spirit with young children. If you would like more information about Bill, it is in the author’s note in the back of the book.
What age range would best be suited for the book?
I would say 3–7 would be the targeted age.
What messages children can learn from your book?
1.You are never too young to help out a friend in need.
2.Get involved in the community and neighborhood.
3.Treat others as you would like to be treated.
Where can your book be purchased?
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
The artwork in the book is by illustrator Bianca Diaz, and this is her first picture book. Bianca has done a wonderful job and was greatly inspired by the south side community in Chicago where she was raised. Bianca and I both grew up in Illinois and were inspired by our own neighborhoods, and you can see that in the book.
If you are interested in learning more about Julia Durango or an of her upcoming books please visit Juliadurangobooks.blogspot.com.