Tina Huggins has discovered the secret to getting children to nap ... and she's sharing it in her sweet new book, "The Nodders."
Image: Ash Wright Photography
March 14, 2021
WHAT’S THE INSPIRATION BEHIND THE NODDERS?
This is something that I’ve wanted to do since my children were out of high school. It has gone through three generations, and I changed the story up and updated it, but my mother had this brilliant concept when I was little. I have three siblings, and we were close in age, so she started this story that the Nap Fairy would come if we took a nap. Men had shoe socks back then, so she put a shoe sock on the door, and then she would put a piece of fruit in it if we took a nap. That got us to go to sleep because the Nap Fairy was going to bring us something. (Of course, it never even crossed my mind how a nap fairy would carry a big ol’ orange!)
WHAT IS YOUR PERSONAL EXPERIENCE WITH NAPTIME SUCCESS?
I had three children who were 20 months apart. We lived in a duplex with three bedrooms. I started with all of them sleeping in one bedroom, and then I had a playroom. It got really hard — inevitably, somebody didn’t want to nap. I was so tired of the battle. You just want time for yourself to take a shower! I remembered what my mother had done, and I thought, Maybe I’ll try it. At the time, I was selling Tupperware, and I had three orange Tupperware containers. I began telling my kids about the Nap Fairy and that she would leave a treat outside their door, and I would put their treats inside the containers. I’m a woman that loves sugar, so they got M&Ms or Cheerios or a few marshmallows — just a few things. They were so excited about it that they slept. That went on until my boys got tired of taking naps. Then, to keep everybody quiet, I said, “The Nap Fairy talked to me and said that if you stay in your bed and read a book, you’ll continue to get a treat. But you have to be quiet.” That worked, too. Fast forward, my daughter has a little boy, and they lived with me for a year, so we began the process of the Nap Fairy again.
WHAT DID THE WRITING PROCESS LOOK LIKE?
I’ve always wanted to write this book, but I’ve been busy with a lot of different jobs. I was a classroom teacher, taught technology, worked for Apple Computer, started a cookie business … I really haven’t had time to sit down and write. My good friend called me one day and said, “Have you written that book yet?” I said, “No, but I promise I will.” So, I sat down in March and wrote the book during COVID. I wanted to do the book independently; I wanted the characters to really be great, and I wanted to own everything. Over the years, I’ve learned that’s the right way to go for me. I went to Beaver’s Pond Press, and they have a menu of things that they do. They were so wonderful, and they have a pool of artists. I selected my artist, who could not have been more perfect for this book. I really love collaboration.
The story is really beautiful. I was a first-grade teacher, so I know what early learners need to have in a book. You want to be able to have them look at the colors, animals and shapes. Our little Nodders wear pajamas unless they’re flying off to deliver their treats, and their pajamas have shapes on them. Parents can ask, “Can you find a circle? Can you show me the color green? Do you see the worm? Where’s the mushroom?” It’s not just a one-time book; it’s a book that you can use as an early learning tool. I’m very proud of that.