New Author – Lori Magana talks about her book Waterdrop Waterdrop
“The Cookie Lobbyist”
Lori, thank you for letting us into your life for the second time. Last time we talked to you; after a water pollution disaster in Charleston, WV in 2014, you were on a mission to stop water pollution and you did that by becoming the “Cookie Lobbyist”.
Thank you, Joni. It’s a pleasure to be back!
Here we are in late 2016, and you’ve written a beautiful new children’s book, Waterdrop Waterdrop. Can you tell us just a little bit about the book without giving it all away?
This beautifully illustrated book is about a red-haired heroine named Waterdrop, who hikes through green mountains while in awe of life-giving water. She is dismayed at some of the problems she encounters in trying to find clean water as it flows down from these beautiful mountains. As she takes up her shield to protect the water, she encourages and empowers her young friends to join her and to take up their shields too. It is a fun way to look at water. It is a book that inspires appreciation, awareness, and action in our awesome world.
How did you get the inspiration for Waterdrop Waterdrop and what kind of impact are you hoping for with your book?
After becoming an accidental activist, and now an accidental author, I have tried to engage children in using their voice in what is happening here in WV. I started an art-based social media campaign in 2015, my second year of citizen lobbying, by using coloring pages with “PROTECT OUR WATER” written above a water scene so that children could become involved in the legislative process. I tweeted the children’s artwork https://twitter.com/Waterdropgirl, I posted the pictures on my Facebook page , and I encouraged parents to mail them to their delegates and senators who would be voting for or against water protective legislation. I took them to committee meetings at the Statehouse. I also spoke at a public hearing in 2015 regarding SB423 and I included some of this artwork with my public statement. This artwork, along with the young artist’s names, is now on record with my written statement.
The idea of a children’s book was inspired by my feelings as I preparing to go to the WV statehouse for my third year in a row, to continue with my cookie lobbying efforts. I had baked my cookies, which I have always referred to as my shield, and I reached into my closet to get my blue water dress that had been hanging up for almost a year. Instantaneously, I felt empowered, and I looked at these tools as a source of power, the water dress felt like a hero cape, and my cookies were my magic shield that protected me. I felt like I was, not only a water warrior but also, a strong water hero! Instantaneously, I wanted to write a children’s book.
I wanted to impart to children knowledge and awareness, to give them a sense of empowerment and to encourage action. This is their world and we are leaving it to them. I think children need to have their voices heard when adults make decisions that can affect their future, especially water, such a life-sustaining issue. To me, this book, especially in combination with the coloring book, encourages and empowers them to use their voice. I hope it will start a conversation with children, with their parents, teachers, yoga teachers, Brownie/girl scout/cub scout leaders and so on…a conversation about water, water issues, what we ALL can do, and maybe even empower the adults who may be reading the story to these children!
There will be a companion coloring/activity book that can be purchased too. Not only are the line drawings fun, but also they have the statement “Protect Our Water” on the back, along with a place the children can sign their names. So these little artists can, not just color and put it up on the refrigerator, but will be able to send it to their legislators and local industries if so desired. I want their voices heard!
This book is not just for West Virginians who have suffered so many water woes, as there are water problems everywhere. This book is not only for environmentalists or people who are already practicing sustainability. This book is for everyone, everywhere! I think the book is very timely when you consider what we read in the news every day. Just in the last month, we’ve learned of the sinkhole that affected a Florida plant, sending low levels of radiation and other pollutants into an aquifer, the state’s primary source of drinking water for its inhabitants. Most recently, we’ve learned that chromium 6, an industrial pollutant, is being found in a large majority of our tap water! We’ve got to watch what’s happening with our water, what’s being built next to or on top of our water supplies, industry practices, and national and local legislation that will affect the safety of our drinking water!
If you are reading this, and think, that would be an interesting book, but I don’t have a young child, I encourage you to buy a version to donate to your local library, your grandchild’s preschool class, your niece’s first grade class, your nephew’s Cub Scout group, your neighborhood’s school library, and so on. I think this book could be used in classrooms. I think it is a great book to build a teachable theme upon, and it would also be a useful book in a children’s yoga class.
This book transcends WV, so I hope children everywhere can read it, learn from it, feel a connection to the environment and be empowered to do something. I want to create change!”
Where can we buy your book?
The book will be available at:
Amazon – “Waterdrop Waterdrop” (kindle edition also available):
At book retailers (check online with your book retailer).
Here is a a link to the coloring book edition: “Waterdrop Waterdrop, Coloring Book Edition”
My website www.lorijomagana.com will have links along with other information.
…some children in urban areas have never seen grass. It’s also true that children are spending less time in nature, and spending more time inside, and this is creating a disconnect with children and the environment. If people don’t have a connection to nature, our environment, and water, how do they ultimately feel about it and how may this affect decisions they make about how they use and protect these things?
Why do you think it is important to write about these subjects for children?
Children at young ages can learn about these subjects with age appropriate material. There are studies that show that when young children are introduced to environmental and sustainability issues, it encourages a connection and commitment to our environment. I’ve been told that some children in urban areas have never seen grass. It’s also true that children are spending less time in nature, and spending more time inside, and this is creating a disconnect with children and the environment. If people don’t have a connection to nature, our environment, and water, how do they ultimately feel about it and how may this affect decisions they make about how they use and protect these things?
To create change, you have to have awareness first. I think it’s important to bring awareness to what’s happening, to encourage connection to our environment and to teach sustainability at young ages. Research supports it!
If you could look out there and see a few years ahead, what do you think the future holds for you, do you plan to write other books?
I have to laugh, as I’ve never had a 5-year plan! I hope that I will continue to make my impact by leaving this world a better place, a cleaner and safer place, and to promote sustainability the best that I can. I know I will continue to use my voice to fight for clean water, so I really don’t know where that will lead! I actually have plans to write another children’s book that is bilingual, based on a poem I’ve written. (French and English). Waterdrop Waterdrop was inspired and my cookie lobbying was inspired. Frankly, I never would have dreamed I would have done those things but I followed by intuition and just did it! I would like to write more books, but I am waiting on inspiration to see what’s next. I know that sounds so cliché, but it’s true!
Thank you Lori, for inspiring all of us with your efforts to protect water and to extend that effort to protect our future generations.
Lori is not only a citizen activist, but she has her doctorate in physical therapy. She works with children in her local school district. She believes, as Henry Van Dyke once said, “Use what talents you possess; the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang the best”. Please visit her website to find out more: www.lorijomagana.com