Mom’s Choice Awards is excited to announce another post in our interview series where we chat with the inventors, designers, publishers, and others behind some of our favorite family-friendly products.
Hello, Mom’s Choice readers, welcome to another interview in our series! We hope this finds you well. For this interview, we were delighted to get the chance to speak with Holly Sharp, the author of the Mom’s Choice Award-winning book, Dream It & Do It. Dream It & Do It is a book that was inspired by the desire to introduce children to a wider range of career possibilities at a young age. Dream It & Do It is such an inspiring book that is a great tool for kids of all ages, genders, ethnicity, and backgrounds that have big dreams and aspirations in life. Keep reading to find out more about Holly Sharp and her motivating book, Dream It & Do It!
MCA: Hi Holly! I first like to congratulate you on your MCA and the success of Dream It & Do It! Dream It & Do It It Is such a great tool for anyone with aspirations and one that I wish I had when I was growing up! To start this interview, tell us a little bit about yourself!
Holly: I am the proud mom of a girl who is 9 months old. I am an older Mom and had my daughter via IVF and it took many years to get her here. Because I spent the better part of my 20s and 30s without children, I have had the great privilege of seeing most of the world, 3 years of which I lived in China. Because I have seen so much and met so many different types of people, I want my daughter, at a young age, to see how big the world is and how many opportunities it holds. I believe that as parents helping our kids to have interests and hobbies is one of the greatest gifts that we can give them as it teaches them skills, that research shows, helps to make happy adults. I wrote this book to help inspire these interests in children.
MCA: Three years living in China, that must’ve been so interesting! You talk a little bit about you becoming a mother and how that influenced your writing. Can you tell us more about your path to becoming a writer?
Holly: I spent 15 years in new product development for large companies that make products like Raid, Glade, Ziplock, Blue Bunny, and Bomb Pop. I love developing new products because not only do I get to see my ideas take shape in real life, but it is a blend of creativity and business that I love. I always knew that one day I would come up with an idea of my own outside of a company, but I never could have dreamed it would have been a book. I found myself 8 months pregnant and unemployed and want to search for a book about careers to put on my baby’s book registry (my baby shower host was asking people to bring books instead of cards). When I didn’t find it, I did exactly what I would have done in my job – I researched the industry, put together a business plan, and got to work.
MCA: They say necessity is the mother of invention for a reason! Can you tell us more about how you came to write Dream It & Do It?
Holly: My mom cleans teeth but she wishes she took pictures. My dad audits insurance but he wishes he built homes. I grew up watching my parents commit to their careers at 18 and then wishing as they grew older that they had found what really interested them at a younger age. I was lucky to have an art teacher in high school that helped me figure out how to blend my love of art and business into the career I had before becoming an author. I hope to help children, including my own, get exposure to more types of jobs than they see at school, home, and in cartoons.
MCA: It is really such a crazy concept that at 18 years old, one is expected to know what they want to do with the rest of their life, and that’s why books like Dream It & Do It are so important for guidance and motivation. What are some of the key lessons found in Dream It & Do It?
Holly: I include 5 lessons at the opening of the book, but the one that I think we can all benefit from is not being afraid to fail. It is something that kids are better at than us and over time we let the fear of what others might think to dictate how we live our lives. These are 100 people who excel in their fields and what sets them apart is not their IQ or their wealth (many did not have anything), it was their willingness to try and not be afraid of failing. Even calling it failing shows that I too can learn from this lesson. Many people in my book don’t even call it failing, many think of it as lesson learning.I was not an author before I wrote this book and was terrified of people reading my writing for the first time, but now I have won 3 awards because I followed my heart and was not afraid to try.
MCA: Failure is an unavoidable and inevitable part of life and to be able to understand it definitely a key lesson everyone can benefit from. As I mentioned before, this book is a powerful tool and one every parent and educator needs to have. How does Dream It & Do It help with homeschooling?
Holly: Small, but frequent breaks actually make it easier for elementary school kids to focus on the task at hand. In a 2016 study out of Carnegie Mellon, researchers found that K-4th grade kids were more likely to stay on task when they focused on learning for 10 minutes at a time, with off-task behavior taking over as instruction extended beyond 10 minutes. Shorter, but more frequent breaks, make it easier to learn in these small bursts of time. I think short stories allow kids to take a “reading recess” that is conducive to this short burst of re-focused time. It allows kid’s brains to take a break, be inspired, and have a clear end to the break that lasts a few minutes.
MCA: What kind of response from readers have you received?
Holly: Amazing. The one that makes me the proudest is the feedback about the diversity of the book as I put a lot of thought into who I chose. One of the considerations in choosing 100 people, was making sure kids of all races, religions, and sexes were represented in the book. In fact, I got a note just a few days ago from the mother of a mixed daughter who she said that she was so grateful to have a book that shows not just celebrity colored women who broke the mold, but every day women of color who are doing exceptional things.
MCA: If you could ensure readers of your book walk away with one main lesson, what would it be?
Holly: Try lots of things while you are young and find something that you truly love, it is one of the key factors in becoming a happy adult. There are 100 people in the book, each with a different career and each with a suggestion on what you can do to learn more about that career. If you tried one new thing a week – you could try a new skill every week for 2 years!!! Those are just the ones I included in my book. There is so much to choose from – just go and try something new.
MCA: That is a great note to end on, thank you, Holly!
You can learn more about Holly Sharp and her award-winning book, Dream It & Do It by visiting her MCA Shop pages.