Next up on our blog series is an interview with Kelsey Cadahia-Frankel. Kelsey worked side by side with her mom, Erin Frankel, to develop the story of Nobody!. Kelsey began her collaboration with Paula and Erin on The Weird Series, when she was only in kindergarten. Now in 6th grade, Kelsey has lots of experience in the creative process of writing and illustrating picture books. Last year, during the final stages of writing the story, Kelsey met with her mom every week at their favorite cafe to review the story and make additional changes. Her best work was done in the window seat below! Kelsey was a true inspiration for Paula and Erin and was always eager to help out. Look out for this interesting girl…we’re sure you’ll be hearing about her in the future!
Erin: What ice cream flavor best describes your personality?
Kelsey: Rainbow ice cream best describes my personality because I am full of surprises. When people meet me for the first time, they normally pick up on this very easily because I have many surprising things about myself.
Erin: When did you discover that you liked writing?
Kelsey: I discovered that I liked writing the very first moment I learned to write in kindergarten. I remember we had a daily journal in my class where we would write something interesting about our day, and I always looked forward to this time of the day.
Erin: How was working on Nobody! different from working on The Weird Series?
Kelsey: When I worked on The Weird Series, I was still pretty young so I didn’t collaborate as much on the writing as I did on the illustrations. I drew the words in the background design in Weird, Dare, and Tough. When I worked on Nobody, I participated in the writing much more. My mom and I would sit at our favorite cafe every week and I would help revise the story. This was a very fun experience, and it was also helpful in getting a sneak peek at what the writing industry looks like.
Erin: What are some of the things that you do to relax?
Kelsey: Learning how to be relaxed is a very important skill that I think everyone should learn in life. Some of the things that help me to relax are splashing water on my face or going out into nature. Going outside provides so much relaxation because it is a way to feel free and let all of your feelings out. Sometimes all you need to do to calm down is let your feelings out, so I try to do that as much as possible.
Erin: Do you have a favorite picture of yourself? What is it about this picture that you like?
Kelsey: My favorite picture of myself is below. The reason why I like it so much is because when I took it I felt so alive and free! Every time that I see this picture it reminds me to always look on the bright side of life.
Erin: What makes a nice friend?
Kelsey: For me what makes a nice friend is having someone you can count on. Friends should always have your back and a great friend makes you feel happy. One of the most important properties of all friends is knowing that they are nice to everyone and not only you. This matters because if you don’t have a friend that is nice to other people then you can’t enjoy yourself.
Erin: What makes you an interesting person?
Kelsey: What makes me an interesting person is being different in all sorts of ways. I lived in Spain and in Alabama so I have experienced different cultures throughout my life. I’m also interesting because I always want to learn new things and figure out how things work. I have a very strong interest in animal rights, and I have supported many causes because of this.
Erin: Do you have a special teacher who you will always remember? What three words would you use to describe her?
Kelsey: I have a very special teacher and her name is Ms. Evans. She was my third grade teacher and I remember that the first day I got to my new school, she made me feel as comfortable as possible. I have stayed in touch with her all throughout elementary school and now middle school and she has been someone that has always been there for me. The three words that I would use to describe her are thoughtful, astounding, inspiring, and kind. Oops… that’s four!
Erin: What have you done for others recently?
Kelsey: A few weeks ago, I organized an event for charity. I invited my friends over to make welcome bags for children at the Ronald McDonald House, an organization that provides temporary housing for children who are receiving life saving medicine in a place where they don’t live. We delivered these bags, and the kids were very grateful for what we did. I’m also in the process of spreading awareness for animal captivity in SeaWorld and donating to organizations that help this cause. I’m putting together a fundraiser in the fall, so check back for information for how you can get involved.
Erin: Would you like to share something you have written? Do you want us to know anything special about this piece?
Kelsey: In my reading class a few months ago, we read the book Walk Two Moons. A phrase that was repeated many times throughout this book was “don’t lean on broken reeds.” I wrote a poem about this and I think that it illustrates to not rely on something that won’t always be there to hold you up. Here is the piece:
Leaning on Broken Reeds
By: Kelsey Cadahia
Leaning on broken reeds,
relying on something to hold us up.
or pure hope,
A warming hug,
or friendly wink-
makes all the difference.
Sooner or later,
nothing is left.
The reeds snap.
The fall is hard.
What used to be real,
is now all a lie.
The truth hits hard-
like a ton of bricks.
If we fall,
nothing catches us.
The water that sustained our weight
has disintegrated into mid air.
If we hold ourselves up,
the reeds will grow strong again.
Erin: Thanks, Kelsey. That’s so Interesting!