America Tonight with Kate Delaney features Carmen Clegg, author of the book “I Suppose the Rose Knew.”
In this interview, Kate Delaney interviews author Carmen Clegg, author of the beautifully solemn children’s book “I Suppose the Rose Knew” which serves as a simple yet effective allegory of the permanence of death and the fleeting nature of life, perfect for helping children engage in healthy conversations about their feelings and understand the finality of loss.
The conception of her book
In the beginning, I wrote this many years ago – I was much younger. It started out as a poem. I had it sitting around my house for years, and in 2015 I decided, why not turn it into a children’s book? It had a cute little lesson in it, but it’s been sitting in my drawer doing nothing. I read it out loud to myself, and I thought it was a decent lesson as well as a cute simple story for young readers, through the life expectancy of a rose. I don’t want to be morbid… but I myself like flowers and I have an understanding of it, so I wanted something simple for kids to understand.
About the story
It’s about a 7 or 8-ish year old girl who enjoys caring for the roses sitting in front of her parent’s home. She loved cultivating them to their fullest potential – she’s learning these things, and enjoying it as well. When she sees that one rose is dying, the lesson is that: as with life, it’s fragile and it’s short-lived, but you can still enjoy it while you were taking care of it – just like the life-expectancy of a rose – something simple as a rose.
Working with the illustrator could be a long process – I wanted to get it right, as far as a better girl, better roses, and a better color scheme and all that, and they were telling me things I didn’t even know. This was my first book ever, and I was learning things as well. I guess we were helping each other through the process.
“Anything’s achievable if you put your mind to it”, Kate Delaney tells Carmen.
– I agree. I never would have thought that a poem would spring out of me one day and I wasn’t even planning to do that. But this where we are today with this, so I feel extremely blessed.
“Do you have any more children’s books in the works?”
– I got a few more in the drawer!
Kate Delaney profoundly relates to and expounds on the simple yet beautiful manner in which Carmen’s book explores the concept of death
“We know how tough death is to tackle. Talking to kids about death and handling grief is very hard. I can relate completely – I lost my father around when I turned 8, and I didn’t really understand. The thought was that everything was fine and everything was going to be okay, dad is in heaven, etc. There wasn’t a lot of conversation. I think there’s a miss in trying to cope with loss, and how you do that. What I liked about Carmen’s book and why, is because in explaining death to younger children, it’s best to come up with simple words and terms when you describe it so they don’t shy away from the reality and the permanence of it – especially when it’s a parent. In my case, there was lots of love, and there was family around us. I think it’s very difficult being honest and figuring it out and explaining grief. I remember seeing a Sesame Street episode that talked about death, that feelings weren’t too big or too little or whatnot, and you can imagine the explanations there because of the current pandemic. Kids are smart, they pick it all up. I think Carmen nails it and hits it heads on, especially with the title and the analogy of how pretty roses are and how short-lived they are.
Purchase a copy of Carmen Clegg’s “I Suppose the Rose Knew” here at https://www.amazon.com/Suppose-Rose-Knew-Carmen-Clegg/dp/1681399733. This radio interview was made possible by ReadersMagnet’s book marketing services. Visit our official website: https://www.readersmagnet.com.