We caught up with Emma Memma to learn all about her new book, 'Hello, Emma Memma'. Find out how she’s like her character, what she wanted to be when she grew up and more in this fun Q&A with the beloved entertainer.
What did you want to be when you grew up and why?
I really wanted to be a ballerina, specifically. And I wanted to learn to dance and I was very excited about that. I think I wanted to be a dancer because I love moving and flying around everywhere.
Did you ever expect to write a children’s book?
I don’t think I ever expected to write a children’s book. But let’s be honest, having beautiful illustrations like these from Kerrie Hess make all the difference. And being able to write with beautiful illustrations just makes a complete picture and sets the imagination for the children.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
The best piece of advice that I’ve been given is probably just to try everything. Try every dance class, and learn every skill because you never know when you’re going to need it.
What was the writing process like?
The writing process for Hello, Emma Memma was pretty fun. I wrote this book with my husband, Oliver Bryan, and we were trying to create a visual description of what the Emma Memma character would be and where she emerged from, so this book is really about the introduction of the character Emma Memma.
In what ways are you like Emma Memma?
I have been told that Emma Memma is an extension of my personality, so I guess we’re fairly similar. And she is an exaggerated and very happy version of me all the time.
What is it like seeing yourself illustrated?
Well. Seeing myself illustrated. . . I guess it’s a little bit weird, but I don’t know if I see her as me, even though we do look very alike. She’s just beautiful and I feel immersed in her world when I see her pictures.
What is the main message behind the book?
The main message behind Hello, Emma Memma is about the emergence of a personality and this book is about the introduction of the character coming out into the world.
What do you hope children take away from the books?
I hope that this book inspires children to be themselves, to feel comfortable and not be afraid to express who they are.
How did you translate your superpowers of singing and dancing to the page?
I really love to dance, it’s my favourite thing in the whole wide world. And I love to sing and I love to use sign language, so that is the challenge of having to make that transform and come alive on the page. I really love the page where the Emma Memma character is bursting out of the cocoon and it’s just so enthusiastic. The fact that she just springs out of the cocoon, that’s probably my favourite one!
What was the hardest part of writing the book?
The most challenging thing about writing the book was keeping it within the page limit because you always want to extend and tell more about the character and more about the story, but you’ll have to wait for book two!
What advice do you have for children who want to be writers?
For all of the children out there who would like to be writers themselves, go ahead! Get writing! Start creating stories, make videos, and make a record of all the funny things that happen to you because one day they might become a very telling story.
Why did you want to include an Auslan translation?
We have been so excited to include an Auslan translation of Emma Memma on YouTube because we want to make sure that our book is accessible in different languages, particularly sign language. So our translation is in Auslan, Australian Sign Language, and you’ll be able to see our dear friend, Sue, doing that beautiful interpretation. So check it out!
Will there be more books after Hello, Emma Memma?
There will absolutely be more books after Hello, Emma Memma. We have lots of surprises in store for you, but we can’t tell you about them right now. But we have written books two, three, four and five. So stay tuned!
What can readers expect from the eBooks/audiobooks?
With the audiobook of Emma Memma, you get a special surprise. You have some of the “Emma Memma” music embedded in the soundtrack, so see if you can pick which we put in the audiobook.
And Instagram is obsessed.
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Penguin Random House Australia (Puffin) has acquired the rights to Australia’s next big pre-school brand, Emma Memma in an expansive publishing program, encompassing story, novelty and activity formats.
Colour in with Emma Memma!
Colour in with Emma!
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