With COVID-19 re-establishing our society’s reliance on technology, one Maple Valley children’s book author wants to get back to the basics — reading out loud during story time.
“Let’s Play Pretend…” is Scott Field’s first children’s book, which was released at the end of March, and he geared it specifically toward encouraging reading as an active activity. Since its publication, the book is now an Amazon best seller.
“We talk about the best 15 minutes of your day. Everybody can spare 15 minutes,” he said in an April 16 interview. “The hope with our products is that mom and dad can use that 15 minutes and really maximize the ability to have… that wonderful little giggling time with their children.”
The children’s book is also the first product of Field’s new Renton-based company, Mommy, Daddy, & Me, which aims for its future projects to be inclusive and active for the whole family.
Field’s passion for reading started at a young age, but as he got older, his life took a different direction.
“I’ve always had a passion for writing and reading since I was very little. My mom — and my dad, but primarily my mom — read to me a lot and that’s one of the things I remember being so important as a child,” he said. “I wasn’t always an author, I wasn’t always an entrepreneur. I spent 15 years, ending two or three years ago, as a corporate marketing manager for one of the ten largest private companies in Washington. On paper, I was very successful and we were doing great, but [I] still felt like I had that calling to do something else.”
He traveled often for his corporate career, Field continued, which took him away from his wife and three children.
“It was kind of depressing, when I’d come home and I’d feel like… I’d missed something” with my kids, he added, so he started looking for ways he could interact with his children while he was away.
His search yielded little results, which was why he decided to write a book that allowed space for both him and his wife to have a role in reading and have prompts that encouraged both parent and child to get up and move around.
“I wrote the verbiage for ‘Let’s Play Pretend…’ probably four or five years ago, just as I traveled a lot,” Field recalled. “I started doing that with my wife and kids in terms of acting the fun little rhymes out and everything, and realized, wow, we’re on to something here.”
Although the writing portion of the book was completed years ago, it took a long time for Field to find Jensen Couch, the book’s illustrator, and “[work] through the process of getting to a point where we’d be really proud of the product, which we are,” Field said.
A FOCUS ON DIVERSITY
In doing research for his book and his company, Field noticed a strange trend — so few children’s books featured children or families of color.
“There’s some out there, but especially inter-racial [books], they’re pretty few and far in-between,” Field said, mentioning that his wife is from Kenya and his children are mixed-race.
This is why “Let’s Play Pretend…” follows eight distinct families (including Fields’) of various ethnic and cultural backgrounds, which gives children the important chance to see themselves in the media they consume.
“Children’s books [are] all about the children’s connection with the text and the pictures,” Field said. “Children are so incredibly smart from the youngest age. Our hope is that being able to look at a mom or dad that looks a little bit like their mom or dad helps that connect just a little bit more.”
Of course, the length of a children’s book makes it difficult to showcase other forms of diversity as well, like LGBTQ+ couples, single-parent families, and families with multiple children.
“We have to pick who are target market is to some degree… we can’t be all things to all people right out of the gate,” Field said. “We’ve had the same feedback — ‘I’m a single mom, and I love your book, but it doesn’t really fit for me.’ So my answer to anyone that doesn’t feel like it exactly looks like their family is, that if you love the book, then you can make it work for your particular situation.”
FUTURE POSSIBILITIES AND MORE INFO
Field doesn’t just plan for Mommy, Daddy, & Me to publish books — he’s aiming to have a wide range of products, from interactive CDs and DVDs to video games and apparel.
“We’ve got lots of things coming down the pike,” he continued, adding that a second book is being planned right now. “Our goal is to be very broadly accessible to the most amount of families out there.”
For more information about Mommy, Daddy, & Me, head to www.mommydaddyandme.com, where you can buy a physical copy of “Let’s Play Pretend…”, download an e-book from the Amazon Kindle store, or sign up for a newsletter to receive updates about the company and future products.
Field can be contacted at email@example.com.