One day at the library while my children were combing through the books and toys, I was searching for some Bring-Home material. I came upon this book.
I am one of those people who do judge a book by its cover. I thought it was adorable so I added it to my stack to borrow. When we got home, my boys and I cuddled up together to read all the books we had just gotten (this is typical library day behavior in our house). When we read it, wee found Muriel’s Red Sweater to be as delightful as I thought it would be. Muriel is a duck who puts on her red sweater and then goes about town inviting her friends to her birthday party. When she gets back home, she has a surprise waiting for her. We read and reread Muriel’s story often and brought it back to the library a little bit saddened to return it.
It wasn’t long after that I learned the author of Muriel’s Red Sweater, Dara Dokas, lived in our own backyard. (Not literally. Our neighbor in our backyard is our city manager) Time went on and I happened upon an event where I was privileged to meet Dara. In fact, we raced each other out of The Loft Literary Center building. I think it’s safe to say that the author of one of my children’s beloved stories is as amusing as her book is!
I enjoyed meeting her so much that I would like introduce you, our readers, to Dara Dokas.
I am a children’s author who lives in St. Paul, Minnesota with my husband, daughter and several pets. In addition to writing, I work for the Minnesota Historical Society at the James J. Hill House in St. Paul. I give tours to the general public and teach classes to school groups. I grew up mostly in St. Paul, just a block away from where I live now. My daughter went to the same elementary school as I did.
I’ve written three books for children.
Muriel’s Red Sweater. I have always wanted to be a children’s author, at least for a very long time. When my daughter was born I started taking classes at the Loft and working on my children’s writing. I love reading my books to kids. I also love thinking like a child as I’m writing my books. What do they like? How do they think?
I came up with the idea for Muriel’s Red Sweater in the middle of the night. I knew I wanted to write a story about a character that starts at home and ends at home and has adventures along the way. I thought of the character Muriel, the duck when I was in bed supposed to be sleeping. Then I started working on the story. It took a few years and several revisions, but finally in 2009 Dutton Children’s Books published Muriel.
I’m currently working on a chapter book for grades 2-3 and more picture books. (oooh, can’t wait)
Since she is from the Twin Cities, we wanted to know what some of her families favorites were.
I love that there are so many things to do and see in the Twin Cities. Plus the variety of restaurants is amazing. On a typical weekend, my family will go out to eat or go to the Guthrie to see a performance.
We like a lot of ethnic food so we go to Sawatdee for Thai food or Dancing Ganesha for Indian. Sometimes we’ll just order pizza from John’s Pizza. Their Hog in the Bog pizza is great with sausage and wild rice.
If you are interested in running into Dara, try these places first. Maybe some day you will see her sailing around the Carribean (especially during an extremely cold winter), but don’t go looking for her in a place with snakes. Dara and snakes are not pals. She also will not be found in an airplane with a parachute strapped to her back. (I am with her on these particular activities. Stay far away from either of them!)
Please check out Dara’s books. She is a wonderful author who has written some heart-warming books to share with your children. You will not be disappointed.