Last year, eight-year-old Taylor Koelbl and her six-year-old sister Alex released their first book together. “The Girl Who Tried Something New” is a moral-based story about building children’s confidence by exploring new experiences.
Written with her mother Danielle Depratt Koelbl, this is the fourth book in the “Girl Who” series.
The Carmel Valley mother-daughter project began when Taylor was four, writing books together based on their bedtime story routine. The first two books, ‘The Girl Who Loves Unicorns’ and ‘The Girl Who Asked for Gifts’ were released in 2018, followed by ‘The Girl Who Shared Kindness’.
“They’re a way to teach other kids lessons so they don’t feel alone,” Taylor said. “Sometimes if they don’t want to try something new, they read it and try something new. He inspires and has a positive impact in the world by helping children feel more at ease.
“Even if a child feels a little warmer inside, that’s a win,” said Depratt Koelbl.
The book was donated to Sage Canyon School, where the girls are in kindergarten and second grade. Recently, Alex also helped his mother donate the book to the Carmel Valley Library collection. They have been invited to host two story hours this summer in June and August where they will read the four books.
This last book was a bit different from the others, rather than going back and forth like the other books, it was inspired by what Depratt Koelbl was going through as a mom.
“I felt like my kids were giving up before they started,” she said. Friends were asking them to try something, like soccer or a dance class, and they wouldn’t. “It’s common with young children and my husband and I didn’t want to impose activities on them, but it was also a bit frustrating as a parent. It didn’t look like they weren’t interested, they were just nervous.
Taylor said no to so many things, even though she loved dancing, she didn’t like dancing in the studio in dance class at first because it was overwhelming. For Alex, it was flag football.
“My mom asked me if I wanted to do flag football and I said okay, but I wasn’t really sure,” Alex said. “Then I did it and told my mum I didn’t really like it, but I kept doing it and liked it a lot more. I liked being able to play with my friends.
She wrote the book more about them but gave them credit for writing because she encouraged them to try new things, they really blossomed once they got over that bump of fear and got gained confidence in them. Depratt Koelbl said the story shows young readers that they’re not alone in that initial hesitation to try something new, but if they give it a try, the result could be fun experiences, friendship or even a new favorite thing.
In the spirit of trying something new, four of Taylor’s Sage Canyon classmates helped edit the new book. The girls, all passionate about writing, participated in a roundtable writing workshop that encouraged individual contribution as well as group consensus.
“Trying new things made this book possible,” said Depratt Koelbl.
Alone, the two girls like to write. A kindergartner with strong reading comprehension skills, Alex writes a lot in “lovely, sweet” phonetic script. She said she prefers fiction, sharing her recent post about things she learned about the fennec fox.
Taylor creates her own unique writing style.
“I like to write scary stories with my friends on Chromebook and we have this thing called the SS Sisters and it stands for Scary Story Sisters,” Taylor said. “Sometimes it also means the Scary Sleepover Sisters because we sleep a lot.”
Taylor said she also does happy stories and stories for school and loves to write on a computer.
While she still can, Depratt Koelbl relishes the mother/daughter book project,
“The reason we do it is because it’s something we do together,” she said. “For me, selfishly, it’s just another activity with my kids that I absolutely enjoy.”
She loves reading the books aloud, as she did this year in Alex’s kindergarten class, using a fun voice and seeing the smiling faces of children in the community. Before the pandemic, she recalls reading ‘The Girl Who Shared Kindness’ to a group of Sage Canyon third graders and a group of kids fired their hands up when she read the part. about the girl feeling uncomfortable that her religion is different from others.
“All of these kids echoed how they sometimes feel,” Depratt Koelbl said. “Those are the tiny little moments for me…I just appreciate the community, even if it’s just an a-ha moment for a kid to feel a little better about themselves.”
Find “The Girl Who Tried Something New” on Amazon where she won first place in the “Social Skills” category for kids.