Carmel Valley mother-daughter team publishes new children’s book

Danielle Depratt Koelbl and daughters Taylor and Alex published "The Girl Who Tried Something New."
Danielle Depratt Koelbl and daughters Taylor and Alex published “The Girl Who Tried Something New.”

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 developing children’s confidence through exploring new experiences.

Written with mother Danielle Depratt Koelbl, this is the fourth book in the “Girl Who” series.

The Carmel Valley mother-daughter project started 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 Presents” were published in 2018, followed up with “The Girl Who Shared Kindness.”

“They’re a way to teach lessons to other kids so they don’t feel alone,” Taylor said. “Sometimes if they don’t want to try something new, they’ll read it and they’ll try something new. It inspires and makes a positive impact in the world by helping kids feel more comfortable.”

“Even if one kid feels a little warmer inside its a win,” Depratt Koelbl said.

The book was donated to Sage Canyon School, where the girls are in kindergarten and second grade. Recently Alex also helped her mom donate the book into the collection at the Carmel Valley Library. They were invited to host two story times this summer in June and August where they will read all four books.

This newest book was a little different than the others, rather than doing the back and forth like in the other books, it was inspired by what Depratt Koelbl was experiencing as a mom.

“I felt like my kids were giving up before beginning,” she said. Friends would ask them to try something, like soccer or a dance class and they wouldn’t want to. “That’s common in young kids and my husband and I didn’t want to push activities down their throats but it was also kind of frustrating as a parent. It didn’t seem like they didn’t have an interest, it’s just that they were nervous.”

Taylor said no to so many things, even though she loved dancing, she didn’t like dancing at 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 ok but I wasn’t really sure about it,” Alex said. “ Then I did it and told my mom I didn’t really like it but then I kept doing it and I liked it a lot more. I liked that I got to play with my friends.”

She wrote the book more about them but gave them writing credit because as she encouraged them to try new things, they really flourished once they got over that hump of fear and gained self confidence. Depratt Koelbl said the story shows young readers that they are not alone in that initial hesitation to try something new but if they take a chance 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 writing enthusiasts, participated in a roundtable editor workshop that encouraged individual input as well as group consensus.

“Trying new things made this book possible,” Depratt Koelbl said.

On their own, both girls enjoy writing. A kindergartner with strong reading comprehension skills, Alex writes a lot in “adorable, sweet” phonetic writing. She said she prefers fiction, sharing her recent piece about things she learned about the fennec fox.

Taylor is crafting her own unique writing style.

“I like writing scary stories with my friends on Chromebook and we have this thing called the SS Sisters and it means the Scary Story Sisters,” Taylor said. “Sometimes it also means the Scary Sleepover Sisters because we sleep over a lot.”

Taylor said she also makes happy stories and stories for school and loves writing on a computer.

While she still can, Depratt Koelbl is relishing the mother/daughter book project,

“The reason why we do it is it’s something that we’re doing together,” she said. “For me, selfishly it’s just another activity with my children which I absolutely appreciate.”

She loves reading the books aloud, like she did this year in Alex’s kindergarten class, using a fun voice and seeing the smiling faces of the kids in the community. Pre-pandemic, she recalls reading “The Girl Who Shared Kindness” to a group of Sage Canyon third graders and a bunch of kids’ hands shot into the air when she read the part about the girl feeling uncomfortable that her religion was different than others.

“All of these kids echoed that they feel that way sometimes,” Depratt Koelbl said. “Those are the tiny moments for me... I just enjoy the community of it, even if it’s just one a-ha moment for one kid to feel a little better about themselves.”

Find “The Girl Who Tried Something New” on Amazon where it earned #1 New Release in the children’s “Social Skills” category.