Actress and author Isla Fisher spoke at BUILD Series recently to promote her latest book, "Marge In Charge," which contains three fun-filled tales about two siblings Jemima and Jake Button and their eccentric babysitter Marge.
Fisher revealed what inspired her to write the book, a taste at what to expect in the book, and what she hoped her young readers would take away from reading her book.
"The stories are like "Cat In The Hat" meets "My Naughty Little Sister" which are stories that I love to read to kids. I suppose at bed time I was running out of material, there's only so many times you can act out "Peppa Pig," or do impressions of your children's friend's parents," the actress said.
"So Marge was a character that I did the voice first and it was just more and more requests to hear tales from Marge. And then equally as a parent I felt for emerging and reluctant readers."
She also explained that for young kids, there weren't so many comedic book available.
"Once they get a little older they can read Roald Dahl, or Jeff Kinney, or Francesca Simon, but during that transitional phase there was a missed opportunity and I'm very proud of child literacy. I wanted to create books that would engage kids in that young age sort of...from [ages] 5 to 11 but wouldn't push them beyond their years socially and emotionally because [in] a lot of these books, the kids are talking sassy or doing things a little bit too inappropriate for the age group."
What's great about "Marge In Charge," is the fact that readers can pick and choose which story they want to read. Fisher compared the format of her book to being "like Netflix binge-watching, [where] you can just watch them all or break them up," and "that it's good for the attention spans of smaller kids if you're reading the stories at night and they're not able to read the stories themselves."
The first story (also titled "Marge In Charge") sets the tone at who the characters are. "The stories are told through the eyes of Jemima Button, whom is 7 years old. She's who we hear the stories from. She's the perfect straight girl because she feels like she has to be a good girl. She has to do what Mommy says and sometimes she misses out on the fun. So Marge really helps her. All the little issues that the characters, Jemima and Jake might experience...little problems that get solved by Marge...they're solved in a grounded way, in a simple [way] within the family. There's nothing to overwhelm kids," explained Fisher.
During her interview, Fisher also spoke about her desire for kids to read books often because there's something special about sitting down and reading an imaginative book vs. being attached to devices with a bombardment of images within apps and television shows.
"Kids today have access to techno toys. They have access to iPads and cell phones. It's hard to compete. The drudgery of a great print line when you can have an image. But images, they kind of stop your thinking in a way. We want to encourage kids to expand their vocabularies, and encourage creativity which leads to innovation and it helps promote discussions within families. Reading also encourages tolerance because you can see the perspective of somebody else. It's telling you the story. I'm just so passionate about young readers continuing to love books and words. I really hope that the world that we live in, of emojis and Twitter feeds, and emoticons, that it doesn't take the place of loving stories," concluded Fisher.