Kristen Bell Is Now a Children’s Book Author—and We Love Her Reading Advice
It’s time to introduce your Frozen fans to another side of Kristen Bell. The actor and mom of Lincoln, 6, and Delta, 5, teamed up with creative partner Benjamin Hart to write The World Needs More Purple People, out on June 2. The audiobook launches the same day. We asked about the story and her family reading routine.
Parents: Who are purple people?
Kristen Bell: "Our kids hear so many reasons why we’re different from each other, and the divisiveness can feel overwhelming. Purple people are the ones who bring us together by loving to laugh, asking really great questions, and being kind. They’re the real superheroes. Our message is that there are way more things that unite us than divide us."
Parents: What’s your best advice for making a story come alive?
Bell: "A lot of parents hold back because they think they’ll embarrass themselves. Go for broke—you don’t have anything to lose."
Parents: Which books have your kids loved over the years?
Bell: "My kids adored Sandra Boynton’s board books when they were toddlers. My favorite picture book to read to them is Quackenstein Hatches a Family. It’s about a crusty old duck who adopts an egg from the zoo, and the baby duck that hatches doesn’t look like him. My daughter is into women’s stories, so we’ve really enjoyed Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls. Another great picture book that both of my kids love is Edwina: The Dinosaur Who Didn’t Know She Was Extinct. It raises a very important question: Do you want to be right or be kind?"
Parents: How many books do you read at bedtime?
Bell: "My kids usually each get to pick two books, and they can earn a third for good behavior. But now we’re trying something a little different: We’re spending about 20 minutes most nights on a Harry Potter audiobook. It gives us a chance to slow down, close our eyes, and picture the story. We’re up to the fourth book in the series."
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Parents: Ever just make up a story?
Bell: "Their dad (podcast host Dax Shepard) does, and it’s helping our kids understand and digest the structure of stories. His stories focus on an underdog. He’ll say something like, “She’ll never be able to climb that mountain—no way!” And the kids get invested in what happens next. It’s shocking how you can take a simple concept and make it so fun."
This article originally appeared in Parents magazine's June 2020 issue as “Kristen Bell Is Now a Kid-Lit Author—and We Love Her Reading Advice” Want more from the magazine? Sign up for a monthly print subscription here