It was the colorful and animated banner that caught my attention. At the top, in bright yellow letters, it said “The Adventures of Frank and Mustard”. With my curiosity on high alert, I learned that this is a place to buy books for children. I stopped by for a chat with author Simon Calcavecchia and ended up acquiring one of his books for our 16-month-old granddaughter.
Simon, tell me a little bit about yourself.
In 2002, I went to Australia to pursue my dreams of playing rugby. During my third game of the season, I broke my neck in a scrum which rendered my body with C 5/6 quadriplegia. It may have changed everything for me, but it never stopped me from chasing my dreams.
What was it that inspired you to be a children’s book author?
My biggest inspiration came from when I was spending time volunteering with kids and noticed that there weren’t any books in the classroom that represented someone like me who uses a wheelchair. That’s when it became my goal to change that.
How long have you been writing books?
I have been writing children’s books for six years. However, my writing passion began with writing hip-hop songs when I was attending The Evergreen State College.
How many books have you written?
I have written five books. Four of them are part of the main series called “The Adventures of Frank and Mustard”. The fifth book is part of the series, but I have created a fresh new board book for my youngest readers, particularly the ones that like to eat them.
Yes! I’ve noticed that book-eating is a preferred activity for the under-one-year-old demographic. Is there a specific age range for your targeted readership?
Generally, they are made for nine and under.
What are some of the themes you explore in your books?
Inclusion, disability awareness, perseverance, teamwork, kindness, and accessibility.
All of those themes are noteworthy and go a long way toward making the world a better place. What is your personal favorite book that you’ve written and why?
“Differently Awesome” is my favorite book because it is having the biggest impact on kids. My hope is that it is positively changing their perception of people who live with disabilities and how we treat people that live life differently.
Are there any new books ready for release?
Unfortunately, things are on hold until the business can financially recover from Covid. However, my latest book, “Monster Truck’n”, is ready to hit the shelves!
Aside from writing books, what other activities are a part of your life?
I’m also a motivational speaker. My favorite thing to do with my life is to go to elementary schools and share my story with kids. After a long break, I’m finally starting to book some assemblies for the 2021/22 school year. I am beyond excited to get back to doing what I love.
I understand that you’ll be at Everett Farmers Market every Sunday through June of this year. Where else can people find your books locally or on-line?
The best place to find my books online would be my website, www.frankandmustard.com. I also have my books on Amazon. If you prefer to buy them in person, I will be a vendor at the Edmonds Farmers market this year on Saturdays.
Do you have any projects in work for the future?
There will definitely be more books in the future. I also have dreams of creating a documentary to share my story on Netflix.
I’ll keep my eye on Netflix for that. Is there anything else that you would like to add regarding you or Frank and Mustard for this story?
Sure, anyone interested in booking me for a speaking engagement should visit my website: www.frankandmustard.com I would also appreciate it if people followed my journey on Facebook. You can find me @FrankandMustard
Thanks for taking time to talk with us, Simon. As a postscript to this interview our granddaughter absolutely loves “The Adventures of Frank and Mustard: The Colorful Shoes”. We must have read it together ten times yesterday!
Joe Clark is a retired Boeing Project Manager. He enjoys volunteering, writing, exercise, discovering new things in Snohomish County, and trying to grow the perfect jalapeno peppers at his Bayside P-Patch plot.