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From Pasta to Pages: Valerie Bianculli

How Italy's Flavors Inspired Children's Book, Richie Saves the Day

In light of this month’s theme, Kids & Pets, we are delving into the world of children’s literature and the unexpected sources of imagination that they come from. Meet Valerie Bianculli, a creative mind (who also happens to be our Editor) who translated her love for pasta and adventures into the pages of a published children’s book that has captured the hearts and imaginations of young readers all around the world.  

Giovanni: What inspired you to become a children's book author?

Valerie: I was at a time in my life where I was unsatisfied with the work I was doing. 2020 had changed my perspective on everything as I’m sure it had done for many, and I came to a point where I was more interested in living a life with purpose and freedom. After I graduated from college, I worked multiple corporate jobs that didn’t feel fulfilling to me. In the summer of 2021, I booked a one-way ticket to Europe and resigned from my full-time job without much of a plan in mind. I don’t suggest anyone to do this but for me it just so happened to work out! It was then that Richie was born. I was eating a traditional Southern Italian plate of pasta called Spaghetti con Ricci.. which translates into sea urchin… when I came up with the idea of writing a children’s book about a sea urchin named Richie.

Giovanni: How do you approach the creative process when writing for children? Where does your inspiration come from?

Valerie: I spend a lot of time with my two nieces who are now 5 and 7 years old. I love listening to their conversations with each other and the way their little minds work. They bring me a lot of inspiration as well as the places I travel to. Richie Saves the Day was inspired by my travels and my next book was also inspired by a trip I took earlier this year to Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

Giovanni: Are there any particular values or life lessons that you try to incorporate into your books for children? If so, why are these important to you?

Valerie: One theme I love to incorporate is the importance of family values and friendship. In Richie Saves the Day, the main character saves his brother from a hungry fisherman and I think this message conveys a world to young readers where there is a strong sense of family bonds and an emphasis on love and togetherness.

Giovanni: What advice would you give to aspiring children's book authors who are just starting their writing journey?

Valerie: The best advice I can give is to embrace your inner child, tap into doing those things you enjoyed doing as a kid. Follow your heart. Be genuine! Authenticity shines through no matter what. Be persistent. Take rejections gracefully and keep honoring your craft.

Giovanni: Where is Richie Saves the Day sold?

Valerie: You can buy it on Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, Walmart.com and various other bookstores worldwide!

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