Before going fishing one day, Ethan eats his favorite breakfast—pancakes. As his mom explains how his pancakes are made with help from the sun, clouds, rain, animals, and farmers, Ethan sees the world in a new way.
While playing outside, Ethan decides to create a big splash by throwing a can in the lake and accidentally contaminates the environment. Time passes and one day Ethan notices that his pancakes taste different. Realizing his decision to make a big splash caused a problem which affected his food, Ethan enlists the help of his friends to correct his mistake.
Do Ethan and his friends fix the taste of the pancakes? What do they learn in the process?
1. What inspired the idea behind this book?
BRUCE: As a young father with two sons, I read a lot to my kids…I also spent most Sundays cooking pancakes with and for them–I ate quite a few myself! Trying to teach my kids life lessons, recycling and protecting the environment were also concepts that were important, but difficult to teach to young kids. I always felt that it was hard for children to grasp how their actions could impact the environment positively or negatively. The idea of My Pancakes Taste Different Today! came out of that quest.
2. How would you describe the character of Ethan?
BRUCE: Ethan is just like my youngest son Evan was at that age. The character of Ethan is built around Evan: Ethan is eight years old, observant, intelligent, fun loving, sweet and kind to nature, animals and others. He loves his pancakes and his mother!He is smart and funny, has tons of friends, and is always asking questions.In real life, I now have a three-year old grandson named Ethan by way of my son Matthew, so all bases are covered!
3. What was the biggest challenge you faced in writing My Pancakes Taste Different Today!?
BRUCE: Getting started, the beginning, the middle, and the end! Writing is not my strong suit! Fortunately for me, my wife Heather came into my life. Not only did she inherit my family, but she inherited this project of 20 years that I was unable to complete, even after attending children’s book writing workshops given by some of the best writers in the business. She is credited for helping me put a structure around the story and move it from an idea to something I can hold and read to my grandkids.
4. What was the most rewarding moment you experienced while writing this book?
BRUCE: Seeing the beautiful artwork that Barbara Cate did, and how it worked in harmony with the writing to really tell the story. Heather and I have had such a wonderful time working on this together –it’s our baby.
5.How much research did you do for the book? What type of research did you do?
BRUCE: Countless Sundays making all kinds of pancakes: blueberry, chocolate, apple fritters. Flipping pancakes and spending time with my boys, was the extent of my research, the best kind! And sadly, watching the growing environmental stress and crisis we are facing as the years march on.
6. What does your writing process look like? BRUCE: A lot of hair pulling and the words just fall into place. Heather is the the writer in the family, I’m a numbers guy. She helped me tease out the story.
7. Where do you turn for inspiration?
8. Where did your interest in writing children’s books begin?
BRUCE: I have always had my favorite books…The 4 Chinese Brothers, Ferdinand the Bull, A Fly Went By, A Fish out of Water, Go Dog Go…many of these were based on cause and effect…progressive events. I am also a cartoon addict, still to this day I spend more time watching cartoons than any other medium. My son Evan is a brilliant voice over artist and my dream is to see him as a character in an animated film.
9. Which writers inspired you as a kid? Which writers inspire you today? (see above)
10. What are some ways to get young people interested in the environment and what foods they eat?
BRUCE: Farmer’s Markets, natural groceries, growing seeds from a packet at home. I think getting kids to engage with nature is the best way…sadly this is so hard for many kids around the world. I had the fortune to live in both Japan and the Philippines as a child and young adult, and the differences in the way each of those cultures reveres and cares for their environment is vast. It really begins culturally at a very young age.
11. How should kids be taught about personal responsibility and their role in sustainability?
BRUCE: By their parents, actions speak the loudest.
12. How would you describe the importance of investing in our children?
BRUCE: They are all we have for the future, a dollar invested in them is worth many more dollars in return down the road. You are seeing this in action today with all of the technology innovations from well-educated Millennials
13. How do you like to eat your pancakes?
BRUCE: I like putting chopped apples in the batter, adding cinnamon, and then topping with a blend of butter, syrup, and raspberry jam! Don’t forget to sprinkle powdered sugar on at the last minute.
14. What do you hope readers take away from My Pancakes Taste Different Today!?
BRUCE: I hope that parents read the book to their kids and that the book is also used as an early reader. This will be the best way to teach children how their actions impact their world.
15. What future projects are you working on?
BRUCE: We have two books in the hopper that we are both very excited about. One thing at a time I am told by my wife, but creativity has no timeline!
My Thoughts: This is great book to get kids thinking about their role in the world. They learn that every choice potentially can lead to something bigger. My 8-year-old daughter and my 5-year-old son were interested right away when they saw this book. I think picking pancakes to draw kids in was a good choice! I love this story gets kids thinking about the process of where things come from and how to make sustainable choices when it comes to their food.
My daughter was able to read this book no problem and my son only needed help with a few words. It works great as an early reader. It’s one of my go to books now for conversation starters to discuss this very important message. My kids especially like that there’s a recipe for pancakes included in the back of the book. I like the idea of reading and discussing the book over a plate of delicious pancakes! I feel this book is great for home and school settings for children ages 3-9 years old of age.
Social media handles:
Facebook: The Pancakes Book
Instagram and Pinterest: thepancakesbook
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From August 1-March 31, 2017, 15% of the profits will go to Cooking with Kids, a unique Santa Fe, New Mexico based nonprofit teaching nutrition and healthy cooking skills in local elementary schools. Cooking with Kids’ methodology has been taught nationally as well.