Henry, the little cupcake that could

Ben Lippert

Ben LippertJuice Editor

Meet Henry, the friendly cupcake. Senior early childhood education major, Hope Paulson, is the author and illustrator of this wonderful short children’s story. This week Hope tells us what it takes to be a children’s author and where her motivation comes from.

Ben: Tell me about your children’s book and where you got the idea for that.

Hope: I spent a lot of time here (Choco Latte) this summer working on it- illustrating and editing.

Ben: So this is where you wrote a lot of it?

Hope: Yes! It was really fun because I’d come here with my color pencils and a lot of people would be like, “what is she doing? This is a a 21 year-old coloring.” Then I would always show them to the workers because they’d like to see them.

Ben: So how long did the process of writing the script and drawing the pictures take?

Hope: To write the actual script didn’t take very long but then I edited it and that took a long time.

Ben: So who are some of the characters?

Hope: Well, there’s Henry, that’s the main character. And it’s told from his perspective so there isn’t any actual dialogue between characters.

Ben: So this book is coming out in a few weeks?

Hope: Yep, I printed it independently, and that’s out of Pierre. Once I approve of the proof they will print a certain amount of copies which will take about a week to come in.

Ben: How many copies are you going to have printed?

Hope: To start off I’m only doing 100… just kind of easing my way into it. I want to start small, and if it’s successful I’ll work my way up.

Ben: So are you going to charge for the book?

Hope: I will charge for it. I haven’t set a price yet… I’m also considering giving some away to elementary schools just to get the message across about Henry, because that’s the most important thing.

Ben: Are you getting credit for this for your major?

Hope: I started writing it as a hobby during the summer, and then in one of my classes we had an assignment to write a children’s book. So I decided to finish it, and my professor encouraged me to take it further.

Ben: Can you give us a synopsis of the plot?

Hope: Basically I want to express that being unique is okay, for kids. Even for parents and grandparents- people of all ages, being unique is okay. Henry discovers that through the book, and you’ll find out how he discovers that.

Ben: The book is about Henry, and he’s a cupcake, and appropriately you’re selling your book at Oh My Cupcakes in Sioux Falls.

Hope: They make specialty cupcakes and she (the owner) was really interested in selling it, and also hosting an event for children to decorate a cupcake and then for me to read my story to them. I’m super excited about that!

Ben: So do you have an interest in writing more children’s books in the future if this one goes well?

Hope: Yes I do! I’ve gotten a lot of encouragement from my family and anybody who’s seen it, and from Choco Latte; they’ve been really supportive of everything. They’ve encouraged me to write a second book, so I’m working on a sequel.

Ben: The next Dr. Seuss everybody, watch out!

Hope: Not quite! We’ll see (chuckling)…

Ben: So what do you get out of all this?

Hope: I get excitement, because when I see kids read and when I read to kids, I really like interacting with them one-on-one or in big groups. I’ve always loved reading stories, and I think I get more enjoyment out of sharing it with others than receiving publicity. Getting my name out there isn’t as important as reaching out the the community.

Ben: What would you say to people to encourage them to come out to the book signing at Choco Latte and pick up a copy.

Hope: Henry reaches out to a pretty broad group. I think they would really enjoy hearing a story that comes from an SDSU student who didn’t have any idea it was going to blow up into this big thing. I’m really excited about it, and I think that if people see that they can do something and follow their own dreams, that they can do a lot.

Hope’s first book signing is at Choco Latte on Saturday, Feb. 26 from 9 p.m. to noon. The second book signing is at the Watertown Confectionary Saturday, Mar. 12 starting at 1 p.m. The Oh My Cupcakes event is going to be in April, time and day are yet to be determined.

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