Tara Drouin is a children's author and singer/songwriter who combines her love of music, stories, and teaching through her joyful, heartwarming books.
Tara has been a teacher for 15 years and she also sings and plays the bass in two bands: Iridesense and The Gum Drops. Her first book, One Heart, was published in 2018 with the goal of promoting unity, kindness, and acceptance. Her second book Red Rock Road (2021) is all about family, love, and tradition. Her most recent book Starlight (2022) helps to make bedtime peaceful through the beautiful illustrations and the accompanying lullaby.
Tara also has a 12-year-old daughter, who inspired her to write her first book, and a cute doggie named Joey who loves to play with socks.
In this special Q&A, we learn more about Tara, her book Starlight and the accompanying song she wrote and performed.
1. What inspired you to write Starlight?
The inspiration for Starlight came from my first book One Heart. One Heart is about diversity, teaching children that while we may look differently on the outside, we all have one heart inside. Starlight is intended to help children around the world go to sleep at night.
2. Tell me about the song you wrote to accompany the book and how it came to be.
Nancy Noskewicz (the illustrator of One Heart) and I were talking one day, and she said it would be nice if I wrote Starlight as a lullaby since the reader could turn the pages slowly. I loved the idea of writing lullabies since my mom used to sing them to me as a child.
I was driving home from work one day, and the melody and the lyrics just came to me. I thought about how some children are afraid to go to sleep at night, and I wanted to tell them that dreams can be magical—with moonbeams, fairies, and adventures. It felt like divine inspiration, and I knew kids would be able to relate to it.
I then went into the studio with my friend Dave Caggiano, and we recorded the Starlight song. It has a beautiful vibe, with harmonies, and guitar parts. I love how it came out.
3. What do you want to tell readers with your book and song?
I want readers to use my story and song to help them get ready to fall asleep. As a child, I remember loving that time with my mom at bedtime. I also read to my daughter at night. I think it’s a great time to connect with your children, help them develop a love for reading, and become more fluent in reading.
Being a teacher and a musician, I see the benefits of music and reading together. I want my story to help to promote sweet dreams for all the children of the world.
4. How do the illustrations complement the text?
The illustrator of Starlight, Barbara Owczarek, did a wonderful job of bringing the song to life. She and I discussed the different characters of the book. One boy would be from London, one girl (who resembles my daughter), would be from Paris, and another girl would be from Tokyo. I wanted to show the diversity of different countries, and I mention those three cities in the song.
It was also important for the illustrations to have that magical, dreamy quality of the song, and I gave Barbara the creative freedom to create what she saw. I knew she would be able to capture what I imagined.
I love how it all came out—the fairies, the dream images of the king and queen, and the superheroes. Barbara even included me in the book, reading to my daughter. Instead of a teddy bear, she depicted the monkey my daughter has had since she was a baby. I'm also in the back of the book playing the guitar for all the children of the world. The whole experience was very rewarding.
Follow Tara Drouin on Instagram.