Monday, March 15, 2010

Interview with "Tina Turbin." Author of "Danny the Dragon Meets Jimmy"

I recently had the privilege of interviewing Tina Turbin, Author of the children's book:

"Danny the Dragon meets Jimmy."

I did a review on this fascinating children's book in February. Check it out here!

Tina ( is a widely-acclaimed, award-winning children's published author, writer, researcher, humanitarian and mother. Working for many years with children in the Entertainment Business, Tina has always been an advocate for families, women’s issues, and celiac and gluten issues as a way to improve the quality of lives of others ( As a member and contributing writer for such distinguished organizations as the National Association of Baby Boomer Women (NABBW), National Association of Divorced Women and Children (NADWC), Baby Boomer Knowledge Center, National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA), Awareness Magazine and numerous other publications, her indispensable advice on the topics of family, children's literacy, gluten, celiac disease and issues affecting women and children has proven invaluable to many. Tina is proud to work closely with the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University Medical Center in raising funds and awareness for celiac research, and she is also a tireless supporter and friend to the community through her readings of her delightful Danny the Dragon children’s series ( at libraries, schools and hospitals. Proud member of the Association of Booksellers for Children (ABC), the Southern Independent Booksellers Association (SIBA) the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and the Florida Association for Media in Education (FAME).

Here’s what I found out about this wonderfully energetic and sweet woman:

1. What made you want to write children’s books as opposed to other genres?

I love children and feel I have a lot to share with them and their ways of looking at the world. I do have many things I write weekly for adults and moms, so my interests are very broad as an author actually

2. What‘s your inspiration when writing these kinds of books?

I was always very imaginative and into the Arts from as far back I can recall but I wrote my first children’s story at age 16. I had made a decision when I saw on my first born child, that I wanted to set aside my personal goals like writing. I found being a mom so wonderful, satisfying and fun. I soon had three children, we loved to read and play games with books and ideas were rolling around in my little head. I always knew that as they got older I would someday get back into writing again.

3. Sometimes children’s books are written with just a simple book in mind. What made you come up with the idea to provide children with this particular story via DVD/CD?

To answer your question about the DVD first: I visited a school to do a reading of my Danny the Dragon book and the school works with kids from very young all through High School and they had a number for deaf students. Carol Downing did the sign while I read to these lovely children. These kids amazed me, the staff inspired me and I walked away from that day with a new view on many aspects, and so did my photographer who came with me for the reading. I got in the car and my ideas starting rolling away on how I could help or do more. I first attended a fund raiser and donated to that and that was not enough. So now we have the DVD as well. The profits of this DVD all are donated by me to the school and areas of Literacy and education. Statistically, HS deaf students graduate with a 4th grade reading level. I could not walk away knowing that, and not get involved. I love to help.

Now your question about the audio-book/CD: This book is the story of Danny the Dragon and then it is followed by 10 beautiful classical songs from working composers today in Hollywood. I donate all the profits to the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University. I went for many years not being able to find out what was wrong with my body and went to many doctors. I then resorted to searching for my own answers, like many undiagnosed celiac. I came upon this subject called Celiac and gluten and the lights went ON. I presented this topic to my doctor and asked for the proper test. I FINALLY had the test I had needed and there is my story in a very short version. I soon learned more such as the many adverse effects that gluten produces in many children and adult bodies- and even animals! One in every 120-130 people have this disease which means about 2.35-2.85 Americans to this date have not yet been diagnosed. It takes an average of 4-10 years (depending on who your reference) to be properly diagnosed and in the meantime other auto-immune diseases can begin and a whole mess evolves. People find out about celiac or gluten intolerance and start researching it themselves and bring the topic up to their doctors like I did, after many years of tests and troubles to no resolution. Also, many kids with autism are taken off of gluten for a very good reason. So now you know why I donate the profits to the Celiac Disease Center. I care very much about this area and to help get people better informed.

4. With your background in the entertainment industry and after creating the DVD did you ever think of creating a “Danny the Dragon” cartoon?

The approach has come to me two times to have an animated version. We shall see down the road. I am so busy now.

5. What’s next for your “Danny the Dragon” series of books?

I cannot share the details but I am on two other treatments in this series as well as the kids Gluten Free cookbook, but it has a twist. It will be a fun one!

6. Who is your favorite author (dead or alive)?

I do love EB White. To this day I love to watch how animals communicate with one another. As a mom and reading to my three kids the list increased. I have many more that would fill up this page and I do not want to bore too many people but in all honesty, I can safely bet that many of my favorites are the same as your readers.

7. If you could write a children’s book about your childhood what would the title & story line be?

The Never Ending Adventures and Excitement of Tina Lang Turbin Story line would be about a wise young girl who went through life as a child “observing”, taking it all in and experiences a heck of a lot while having quite a lot of fun. She then took her travels of “Life” to benefit the lives of many others- with sincerity and from her heart.

Thanks so much to Tina Turbin for sharing her amazing story and taking the time to answer my questions about this much needed and refreshing children's book. My kids really do adore this story and I can't wait to read more from her "Danny the Dragon series. :)

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