We read to our children because we want to open their eyes and minds to the possibilities that lie within the world. The words in a book are more than just letters on a page, they’re an invitation to the opportunities that are available through dreams. As parents, we teach our children to dream with limitless goals and to never place a cap on what is indeed achievable. To further facilitate these visions, parents, educators, and mentors must provide children with the foundation to build from. Kat Kronenberg’s new book, Dream Big, is fantastic story about aspiring to be larger than life and how ultimately anything is possible if you never give up hope.
The book takes place in the African Savanna and follows a moody Baboon as he discovers a powerful secret. One by one, other characters in the book wish upon a star and discover that their wildest dreams can come true. Kronenberg’s book offers more than just an inspirational story for children, but it reinforces the idea of success so that children can take knowledge and apply it to their own aspirations.
Kronenberg gave us an exclusive interview and answered our questions about her new release.
Learning Liftoff: What inspired the characters of the book?
Kronenberg: “I would say the characters found me. I’ve always loved all the different types of animals you can find in nature. I think there is so much to learn from a scientific standpoint as well as from a metaphorical perspective. The animals I wrote about kept coming back to the page. I wanted to write about lions, zebras, and giraffes. But the different ways these animals evolve paralleled some of my own struggles of cocooning, hiding out alone, swimming around in negative thoughts when challenged by naysayers. Yet each of these animals appeared to conquer these fears and setbacks and still achieve dreams that seemed impossible. What a great example to set for my own life.”
Learning Liftoff: What makes this book different from other children’s books today?
Kronenberg: “The book, alongside the website, has so many layers. There is something for every age. Parents, teachers, even kids reading it to younger kids can all remember what it means to believe in themselves, their dreams, and the power of possibility. They can even connect on what their dreams might be by making dream boards [and] dream books together, and encouraging one another to pursue them. And the list goes on.”
Learning Liftoff: Why is it important for today’s children to read about the power of dreaming and hope?
Kronenberg: “When we read about the power of dreaming and hope, we’re able to wake up to possibility, to goals, and to dreams. When we do this, life becomes a grander adventure. It allows for a stronger sense of ownership for one’s life, creates responsibility, satisfaction, and eventually a stronger self-esteem.”
Learning Liftoff: What was the biggest obstacle you ran into while writing this book?
Kronenberg: “I lost both my parents at different times during the ten-year period I worked on the book. The demands on my time, intense emotions, and closing up the home they lived in for more than fifty years was a lot to process. It made sitting down to write almost impossible. But it also allowed me to have a greater depth of understanding on what it was I wanted to say, and actually use the pain and emotions like the cocooned caterpillar and the tadpole to help me achieve my dream.”
Learning Liftoff: What do you want parents and children to come away with after reading your book?
Kronenberg: “I want them to have fun and truly talk about what it means to have dreams, encourage one another to pursue them, and help each other get back in the arena to fight for their dreams when there are setbacks because no matter who you are, it is inevitable that they will happen. I also want them to see and discuss the power of a smile to help learn what it means to believe in themselves and their dreams. I think a smile is our U-Shaped Bridge to anywhere. It helps connect our heads to our hearts, our hearts to our dreams, and our dreams to the power of something bigger. For me, it is God, and in Dream Big it is their wished-upon star, and in the book, hopefully, readers can see how they all connect to help each animal achieve their dreams.”
Learning Liftoff: What is the one best question you’re always asked, no matter what interview platform you’re on?
Kronenberg: “What made you write a book? I love this question because it reminds me that divine inspiration got me to this grand moment, which when I really allow myself to slow down and think about, it means a lot. I can know I am not alone; God is with me, and if I learn to listen, life can be a grand adventure. How great is it that someone wants to interview me—dreams do and can come true!”