Rosie's Crafty New Book

O'Donnell talks to Scholastic News Online about her latest book, Crafty U

  • Grades: 3–5, 6–8

Rosie O'Donnell has many roles in life. She's a mom, an actress, a comedian, and a humanitarian. She also has a passion for arts and crafts and has channeled it into a wonderful and fun new book for children and parents.

Crafty U: 100 Projects the Whole Family Can Enjoy All Year Long, is a collection of amazing and imaginative projects the entire family can do together. Some of my favorite projects were the Sun-Catcher Mobile, Hostess-With-the-Ghostest Bowl, and To-Tie-Dye-For T-Shirts.

Recently, I spoke to the author about her latest creative adventure—and some of her other artistic passions.

SCHOLASTIC NEWS ONLINE: I was reading through your arts-and-crafts book, and I noticed you dedicated it to your mom, "a very crafty woman." Was she your inspiration to write this book?

ROSIE O’DONNELL: Yes, she was. My mom was very into crafts and sewing, and I remember at Christmas time, she would take a mirror and spray fake snow around it and put little metal ice skaters and a village with lights around the Christmas tree at the bottom. And there was a nativity scene that we had that she would set up and make it look nice with real hay and everything. But she died when I was a little bit younger than you, so mostly what I remember are the moments where we got to spend time together. In our world today, there are so many distractions with TV and the computer and video games that kids don’t really talk to their family as much as they did in the ’70s, when I was a kid. Not everyone had TV, and there were only three or five channels on a TV.

SNO: You said that you find arts and crafts very relaxing and you like to listen to music. What music do you like to listen to?

O’DONNELL: I like to listen to a lot of Joni Mitchell. I listen to Cyndi Lauper, I listen to Madonna, I listen to Elton John, Celine Dion, Gwen Stefani. I love her! I love the Beatles. And Kanye West.

SNO: Sometimes when I do arts and crafts, my finished project isn’t what I expected and I am disappointed. If your kids do that, what do you tell them?

Crafty U book cover
Rosie O'Donnell's new book, Crafty U. (Cover image courtesy Simon and Schuster)

O’DONNELL: I say there are no mistakes in art and that most artists, when they start a painting, never know what it’s going to like. It’s kind of like a surprise. And it’s a gift. You should never try for perfection because there’s no such thing as perfect in art. All art is perfect. There’s no right, there’s no wrong, and there are no mistakes. What you try to make when you make arts and crafts is a memory. You remember who you were with and what you were doing and what you talked about and what music was on and what it felt like.

SNO: I’m 11 years old right now. What were you like when you were 11?

O’DONNELL: Well, my mom had just died, so I was pretty sad. But I was always funny, and I always liked my teachers. I was one of those kids in school who would always try to make the teachers laugh. I wanted teachers to like me. And I was always looking for another mom, kind of, so any grown-up who was around my mom’s age, I always wanted them to like me.

SNO: I know that you have a foundation, Rosie’s Broadway Kids, that provides an education in theater arts to New York City kids. Do you think this experience will change their lives?

O’DONNELL: I hope it will, and I think it already has. We started about five years ago in one school in New York, and now we’re in 30 schools. We teach the entire 5th grade a 17-week program of musical theatre, where they learn singing, dancing, costuming, lighting, design, and set management. The kids who excel, who really want to learn, get to stay with the program through their entire high school career. So our first graduating classes are now freshman in high school, and all of them got into performing-arts high schools in New York. So that was a huge, huge thing.

SNO: What’s your favorite book in the Harry Potter series?

O’DONNELL: The book where she introduced the Dementors. The Dementors are these energy forces that were all negative and would take all of your life from you, all of your soul, all of your spirit, and all of your brightness. And I felt like that was a real good metaphor for people, and for children especially, to learn to stay away from the things that are dark and to understand when something is not the right energy for you. So I loved that. I thought the whole series was magical.

READY, SET, READ!

Do you need help picking out what book to read next? Let Scholastic News Online be your guide! Find out what Kid Reporters are saying about all the latest books by reading their book reviews in this special report.

 

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The Scholastic Kids Press Corps was a team of about 50 Kid Reporters around the nation that brought news to life with reporting for kids, by kids.