Interview with Children's Author Maha Huneidi
Terri: What age range is your book for?
A: I didn’t think of an age range when I wrote the book. I just wrote a picture book for my granddaughter. When I later ran the Flesch Kincaid reading level on Word, it gave me grade 4.2. In Amazon it’s listed as 9 to 12. I really can’t understand this age classifications thing, especially if parents can read the book to their kids. In my mind I was writing a book that parents would read to kids starting at 3 years old, because I wrote it for my granddaughter who was just about 3 when I sent the galley proof to my son. He read it to her and she loved it, and now she’s over her fear. She sometimes tells her Mom “the monster came last night,” and when her Mom asks if she was frightened she says, “I made friends with him.”
Terri: Can you share a memory of yours or a story of you from when you were within the age range of your target readers?
A: I remember being afraid of the dark and seeing little monsters all around my bed closing in on me in the dark, I was petrified. They were little, but there were so many of them! My parents would come in and look for the monsters, but they always disappeared when the lights came on. For little kids things can look so different in the dark. Sometimes I would see a monster on the dresser, and when my parents turned on the lights it would turn out to be a jar or something like that, but there was no consoling me; I was terrified of the dark.
Terri: How has life changed for children today than when you were that age?
A: The first thing that comes to mind is all the technology. We never even dreamed of it. The computers, cell phones, electronic games… kids now live in a completely different world than the one we knew. I think it’s great, so long as there’s a balance between their use of the Internet and their interaction with nature… Another thing that has changed, in a way that’s not so good, is the consumerism. We didn’t have that in my time. You bought something and used it and then it was handed down… none of that nowadays. The sad thing is that we contribute to it as well. How can I help it as a grandparent? I just want to buy all that cute stuff for my granddaughter.
Terri: How is life still the same?
A: For me family ties are still the same and parents still want to do the best they can for their children. Other than that I think that life is very different now. It was very different for my children, and now it’s even more different for my granddaughter.
Terri: What was your favorite toy or activity when you were that age?
A: The earliest I can remember, and I’m not sure exactly what age that was, I loved to play outside with the boys, to ride my bike, or play hide and seek with my friends. I wasn’t into dolls; I was more of a tomboy. I preferred to play with my cousin’s Mekano set (that was the Lego of our generation, except it had metal pieces and nuts and bolts).
Terri: What inspired this book and how did you decide on this age range for your book?
A: At first, I wanted to write a picture book to help kids get over their fear of the dark, because I was afraid of the dark as a kid and I know how awful it is to be frightened, but when my son told me that my granddaughter was having nightmares because she was watching monster movies, she became my inspiration. She loves monster movies. They give her nightmares and she still loves to watch them anyway, so I decided to make the book about her to help her get over her fear.
In my mind I was writing for ages 3 to 8 and I wanted to convey the idea of how our thoughts create our lives in the simplest way I could put it. I guess the story line dictated the age range.
Finally, I have four kids. Over the years, they’ve attended a lot of birthday parties. I love the idea of building a theme gift around a book.
Terri: If you were to give a gift basket to a child based on your book, what else would be in the basket besides (your book’s title)?
A: Besides “When Monsters Get Lonely” I would definitely put a “cloud b constellation night light” for kids who are afraid of the dark, or maybe one of those “dog animal pillowz” to keep them company.
Thank you so much for your time. We wish you much success with your book.