Q&A: Colorado children’s book author Nicole Magistro knows books can transport you | SteamboatToday.com

Q&A: Colorado children’s book author Nicole Magistro knows books can transport you

Author Nicole Magistro stands with the book's illustrator Alice Feagan.
Courtesy photo

Nicole Magistro will be at Off the Beaten Path on Dec. 4 to sign her new children’s book, “Read Island.”

The book will delight children and adults alike with catchy rhyme schemes and a captivating story about a girl, her furry friends and their adventures. Hoping to encourage a love of reading and the places that it can take you, Magistro talked with us about the real “Read Island,” her idea for the book and her best tips for encouraging young readers.

Explore Steamboat: How did the concept for “Read Island” come about?

Nicole Magistro: I owned an independent bookstore in Edwards for 15 years. After I sold it, I wanted to get back to writing — I had written before I became a bookseller and entrepreneur — the idea for this book came from the fact that I wanted to share with kids the joy that I have for reading; that it’s an adventure, not something that necessarily has to take place in school or in a library but one that’s out in life. Reading can take us wherever we want to go. During COVID and lockdown, that idea was even more present for me. Books took me and my family wherever we wanted to go. Doing a lot of visualization and meditation with my 10-year-old son helped crystalize the idea.

ES: What is the real “Read Island”?

If you go

What: Book signing with author Nicole Magistro

When: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dec. 4

Where: Off the Beaten Path Bookstore and Cafe, 68 Ninth St.

NM: It’s located in coastal British Columbia, and our family has been visiting for decades. It’s literally my favorite place in the world. One time, after my son and I did a visualization and meditation exercise, I asked him where he went and he said, “Read Island.” I said, “Me too!”

ES: Have children’s books always been a part of your life or a dream of yours to write?

NM: They were a huge part of my childhood. I was a big reader as a child and books really helped me through one of my biggest transitions, which was when my family moved. My dad always read to me at night and my mom was a teacher, so books were everywhere. When I had my son in 2011, books lined the shelves of his nursery, and we started reading all the classic children’s books out loud to him every night. It’s still very present in our house.

ES: What are some things that parents can do in everyday life to instill a love of reading?

NM: You don’t have to sit down and read anything cover to cover in order to incorporate books into your life. Visiting the library and the bookstore helps. Reading outside is a great way to connect our lives here in Colorado with the inside-outside experience. Memorizing poems is another really fun thing that kids and adults can do together. It also helps get through other times, like when you’re doing chores or stuck in traffic, for example — maybe you can recite a poem. It can help pass the time and take your mind to a different place. It’s a tool that you can use throughout your life.

ES: Top three favorite children’s books?

NM: There’s a wonderful book called “Dog Loves Books” by Louise Yates. Another one that I read a lot at storytimes is “Waking Dragons” by Jane Yolen and Derek Anderson. It’s got a great cadence and is a short poem where an unlikely little knight has to wake up a dragon before school. “Bear Says Thanks” by Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman is about gratitude, and it’s great for this time of year, because it teaches about how there are many ways to contribute to a gathering — you don’t always have to bring food; there are always stories to share. That’s a message that I’ve been trying to share with kids, especially at this time of year.

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