‘Superbuns! Kindness Is Her Superpower’: Interview With Diane Kredensor

 

Superbuns picture book cover and author photo
Image By Aladdin Books

Superbuns: Kindness Is Her Superpower By Diane Krednesor

Blossom and Buns are sister bunnies. Buns, aka Superbuns, believes kindness is a superpower. Blossom knows everything there is to know and is certain her little sister can’t have kindness as a superpower. In this adorable and funny picture book, Superbuns shows and teaches her older sister that kindness is something super indeed.

Diane Krednesor is the author and illustrator of Superbuns. Diane has written other picture books, as well as being an Emmy-Award winning artist, director, and producer for several TV programs. Here is an interview with this talented lady!

GeekMom Rebecca Angel:
Hi Diane! I very much enjoyed Superbuns. Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions 🙂

Diane Kredensor:
Thank you Rebecca! I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

GeekMom Rebecca Angel:
How did you get the idea for Superbuns?

Diane Kredensor:
Some version of Superbuns has been in my head for years. I live in Brooklyn, NY, so I’m constantly interacting with strangers. Being kind, not to just to the people you know and love, but to strangers too, makes a difference for me. I don’t walk around thinking “everything would be perfect if I just smiled!” But smiling at a stranger, or holding a door open for someone, can make a moment better in my day and possibly theirs. Being nice is selfish—it just feels good.

Today’s environment feels fraught with negativity. I try to counter that with kindness. As a mom, I want to be a great example to my kid. And as a writer and illustrator of children’s content, it felt natural to bring that kindness message to a book. I wanted our hero to be a little girl (bunny) too. Everyone needs to know they’re a superhero, but I’m especially drawn to empowering girls because I am one. And I really do believe that kindness is a superpower. Great things happen when you’re kind. It’s something we all possess; we just need to unleash it and let the greatness unfold.

GeekMom:
Would you describe the artistic process for bringing this book to life? And how did you decide on her outfit?

Diane:
I primarily work digitally, but for this, I did a combo—I used a Pentel brush pen on paper for all the character line work and then scanned those in and painted everything in Photoshop. I created my own brush in Photoshop that gave me a pencil look and used it for the background line work and then thickened it up to paint the characters.

Buns had to have a supersuit with a cape, for sure! It supports her notion that she’s a superhero plus I knew it would also get under Blossom’s fur!

GeekMom:
You have your own animation company. What are the differences between developing a picture book versus an animated show?

Diane:
Great question. When I’m developing an animated series I create a big picture view with a show bible that includes the goal of the series and what makes it different, the world, and a bunch of sample storylines with images and descriptions of all the characters—I love developing characters and figuring out who they are and what makes them tick (like knowing that Buns’ supersuit would bug Blossom!). I always start with the characters. It’s essential when developing an animated show because you need to know your characters inside and out so you can write 52 or more episodes around them and keep your stories interesting and have kids wanting to come back for more.

Similar to developing a series, I approach a book usually with the characters first. I need to be connected to my characters before I write a story for them. But it’s a more linear process than developing a show because once I have a great character then I think about a storyline. I don’t spend as much time developing the larger world like I would for a show.

GeekMom:
The big sister, Blossom, is a major character in the story and Superbun’s life. Did you grow up with siblings? How did her character develop?

Diane:
I grew up with an older brother, and he’s nothing like Blossom (except for the bunny tail!). Just kidding, Don.

I liked the idea of little Buns being confident in her convictions, something I definitely was not as a kid. But for Buns, she just knows that kindness is all that matters and no one will ever convince her otherwise.

But then I wanted to have a conflict to all that kindness, having someone like Blossom who is absolutely certain that kindness is not all that—until she feels what it’s like to be kind. Once she gets a taste of it, she has a moment of understanding her little sister and the power of kindness. That’s what I hope the image on the last page conveys!

GeekMom:
Being a superhero is a “goal” for many children (and adults). Why do you think this is?

Diane:
We all have fears. Some are rational, like a fear of heights. And some are irrational, like a fear of not fitting in or fear of failing. Superheros we’ve grown up with have superhuman strength and superhuman speed and none of them appear as though they have any fear. I think that feels safe to kids and adults. We wish we could live without fear. But that’s impossible. The real superheros in life are the people (and bunnies) who have fear and go for it anyway.

GeekMom:
Kindness is not usually considered “cool” by our society. (“Nice guys finish last” sort of thing.) What do you hope Superbuns can change about this culture?

Diane:
Being kind shouldn’t feel weird or wrong. But the good news is I think kids today are pretty smart. They know that being kind is way cooler than only thinking about themselves. I hope that seeing Superbuns confident in her kindness will encourage them to continue to be kind and support their peers as they grow up and hopefully become compassionate, empathetic adults.

GeekMom:
You have mostly female speaking characters in your book. This is not the norm for children’s books (sadly). Were you conscious of your decision? Do you make an effort of equal representation in your other works?

Diane:
I knew Superbuns had to be a girl, but the rest fell into place with what felt most natural for this story. I guess this could be looked at as a corrective to an underrepresented voice.

As for my other works, in general I strive to give voice to the underrepresented in every way. I want kids of all genders, colors, religions, and social economic backgrounds to have characters they relate to, so they grow up feeling part of the whole society and become caring, kind, empathetic adults as well. All kids need to see characters that look like them who are confident and strong, fearful and courageous!

GeekMom:
What inspires you lately?

Diane:
I’m so inspired by all of the new amazing women that landed in Congress after the 2018 election. Some of them never worked in politics but felt a calling to stand up and do something for people in their communities who needed a voice. They are kind, good people, who were told that it was crazy to run for office, but they did it anyway. They didn’t let the negativity stop them. Just like Buns. She’s not fazed by Blossom’s know-it-all negativity about kindness. She just walks around it and keeps being kind.

The freshman women in Congress are real-life superheroes! Kids are watching and they see who’s doing the right thing and they get how cool it is to be kind. That’s inspiring!

GeekMom:
Will there be more Superbuns adventures?

Diane:
Yes! I signed a two-book deal with my publisher so I’m currently noodling with ideas for book two. Stay tuned!

GeekMom:
Thanks, again Diane. It’s great to see a talented author able to show kindness in a fun way for kids. I highly recommend Superbuns for ages 4-8.

GeekMom received a copy for review purposes.

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