Monday, March 11, 2013

Linda Valderrama, author of Brush Barry Brush

Author Bio: 
I grew up in Dayton,Ohio and graduated from The Ohio State University. For over 25 years, I have worked as a dental hygienist in family practice settings in Dayton,Ohio, Cleveland,Ohio, Geneva Switzerland and San Diego,California. I have worked with patients from age 3 to 100 years old and always enjoyed developing effective preventative programs tailored to each individual. Working with children has always been especially rewarding for me. I am a member of the American Dental Hygienist’s Association , San Diego County Dental Hygienist’s Society and currently serve on San Diego Head Start Health Services Committee .

I have two amazing children with beautiful smiles, who have always been a great joy in my life.

Title: Brush Barry Brush
Author: Linda Valderrama R.D.H.
Illustrator: Sudi Memarzadeh
ISBN: 978-0-578-06605-9
Page count: 32
Genre: Children's picture book
Price: $11.95 

Tell us about your book:
Good daily habits must be acquired early in life. Brush Barry Brush tells a simple story about Barry and his friends in a way that is meant to instill in young children the idea that brushing is fun and is something they need to do after eating whenever possible. I wrote the book to help parents work with their young children to achieve this goal. The book also includes a brushing chart and stickers to help provide a fun incentive for kids to get into good habits. Consistent oral hygiene routines lead to a lifetime of good overall health and well being.

How long did it take to write the book?
It took about 6 months. Essentially the book is geared towards the 3-6 year old child and I wanted the book to have a certain rhythm and flow. It was important to create characters who would make the story memorable and fun. Fortunately, I met Sudi Memarzadeh, the talented artist who illustrated the book and brought the characters to life.

What inspired you to write the book?
I always felt my pediatric patients were my best chance at making a real impact. Children are fun to work with and very receptive. I had many patients whose teeth I cleaned  from the time they were three years old. Patients always  asked for tips on how  they could get their children into  the routine. I was inspired to put my ideas to pen. Statistics show that 50% of all children have cavities before they reach second grade. Decay is an even bigger problem in under served areas. Tooth decay is the most prevalent, yet mostly preventable childhood disease. My goal is to make tooth brushing fun, something the child will want to do, and at the same time empower each child themselves to  prevent decay.

Talk about the writing process. Did you have a writing routine? Did you do any research, and if so, what did that involve?
With only a few lines per page, I would write several pages at a time, walk away, then come back to it later to see if it still worked.

Mostly my research consisted of testing the story with children. Their reaction was  encouraging.
I had the idea for this book in my head for many years. It just took sitting down and actually writing down ideas to develop the  characters.

There were  so many learning experiences bringing up my two children. I had to be creative. My daughter has grown up to be a very successful attorney. From preschool to college, she always was very smart and thought “outside the box." I was always trying to come up with ways to get her to cooperate and found that charts and contracts worked very well. Instead of forcing her to comply, it was much easier if she had a reason and wanted to do the right thing. Rewarding  good behavior worked well.

My son is now an ER physician. In his early years, he did not even want to wash his face, much less brush his teeth! When he was in elementary school, his big idea was to sleep in his clothes and just roll out of bed already dressed the next morning so he could sleep later! Now I can laugh, but at that time, I seriously had to figure out ways to get my kids to want to do important things that they at first did not want to do. I did not want to start out each day with an argument. That is when I came up with charts and  sticker rewards and it worked.

Since I am a dental hygienist by profession, I have seen with my own eyes the effects of dental neglect. With all of the progress we have made concerning other chronic diseases, tooth decay remains a problem. It is an aggressive disease process that can result in severe destruction of the primary teeth.

My inspiration was to write a story that was educational, but at the same time something that children  would remember, enjoy, and want to hear over and over again. I wanted a story that would encourage action, discussion and something that parent and child could read together.

What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your book?
This book is meant to get across the idea that tooth brushing after eating is important. The funny characters and bold colorful illustrations, created by Sudi, together with the simple alliterative text, and the interactive stickers and brushing chart are meant to motivate young children. You will find that one character eats dark chocolate and one eats a jam sandwich. All of this is meant to lead to discussion about nutrition. The food each child in the book eats starts with the same letter and word sound as the name of the character.  This is meant to lead to discussion of word sounds.

Dental health impacts overall well being. It is never too early to start the discussion with a child. My  greatest hope is that every parent sits down and reads it together with their child. Many parents still do not realize how important it is to brush after eating whenever possible. The idea is for the  child to memorize the story and copy the characters brushing. The book depicts kids eating all kinds of snacks. I have to laugh, because during a reading when we get to the page where Doreen eats dark chocolate, the kids always react with a gasp. I tell them, there are certain "sometimes" snacks for dessert or for special occasions and others good to snack on more often. The idea is to learn to deal with all kinds of food, just like they will have to in real life. In reality a cracker (carbohydrate) can in certain circumstances produce more potential for decay than a piece of dark chocolate! Brush Barry Brush is meant to educate children and spark enthusiasm. A bright and healthy smile should be prized by families. My hope is  that together, parents and children will love reading Barry’s story again and again, realize the importance of brushing , use and have fun with the chart and stickers.

Excerpt from book:
Barry eats a bowl of blueberries.
He forgets to brush his teeth.
Uh oh! Barry's teeth are blue!

Where can we go to buy your book? link:

My website Shirley's Girl Publications:

Contact me from website or: 

Any other links or info you'd like to share? 
Brush Barry Brush is a  2011 Kart Kids Booklist winner and 2011 International Book Awards fInalist.
Kart Kids Radio:
Facebook Event/Fan Page link which also includes links to 2011 World of Ink tour :


  1. Virginia, thanks for this opportunity. It is wonderful to be included in this blog with such a talented group of authors!

  2. This is such a great book! It is never too early to begin to instill healthy habits. Make brushing fun from the start with this colorful and creative book.