Author Interview with Kim Linette

I have partnered with The Children’s Book Review and EQ Explorers to bring you a special interview with author Kim Linette. Her book series, EQ Explorers, helps children develop emotional intelligence. Be sure to check out the special book giveaway at the end of the interview.

Kim, you are the founder of Kapalua Cove Foundation. Will you tell us a little about the foundation and what inspired you to create it?

In order to tell you about Kapalua Cove Foundation, I need to explain the inspiration for the EQ Explorers book series. I first learned about the concept of emotional intelligence, or EQ, while I was a young mother. At the time, I realized that I had everything I wanted—a wonderful marriage, six fabulous kids, a successful business and career—and yet something was missing for me emotionally. I didn’t feel happy in the way I thought I could or perhaps should. 

With the help of countless self-help books, tapes (yes—cassettes and VCR), plus a talented therapist, I dug deep and explored my emotional well-being—my ups and downs, self-worth, self-confidence, and more. Through years of personal growth and work, I came to know and embrace EQ as a critical life skill. The principles of EQ—things like “be yourself—don’t compare” and “set and keep boundaries”—are key to boosting happiness and creating healthy human connections.

As my happiness increased, I noticed something else very powerful happening around me: my children’s happiness increased, too. As I shared and modeled the principles I learned with them, and in turn they incorporated these principles into their lives, they became happier individuals. 

Research backs up what my family and I experienced. Studies show that EQ is a key component to living a happy, successful life. And—unlike IQ—EQ can be learned. 

I was inspired to create the EQ Explorers: Little Adventures for a Big Happy Life book series because I wanted a way to pass on to my future grandchildren the nuggets of wisdom it took me years to learn. I hoped they would learn them naturally, through educational-yet-enjoyable bedtime stories, while they were still young. Each book in the EQ Explorers series stars a child and an animal who adventure together to discover and understand a key principle of emotional intelligence and other important life lessons. Initially, I intended to write the books as a gift to my family.

Pretty quickly, however, I realized that EQ Explorers could serve more than just my family. My initial inspiration grew into a passion to help all kids and their parents learn these principles. In short order I knew that writing and publishing the books was also not enough. I felt compelled to help nurture children all around the world—especially those facing socio-economic challenges—by providing the tools and opportunities they need to live happy, healthy, emotionally connected lives. That’s why one hundred percent of profits from EQ Explorers goes to Kapalua Cove Foundation through direct donations and donations of books to orphanages, remote libraries, care centers, and more. 

What do you hope children (and adults) learn from your books?

Children (and adults alike) often fall in the trap of believing that happiness is determined by external factors: what happens to them, what they have, or how other people perceive them or treat them. In truth, no matter what happens to us or whatever comes or doesn’t come our way, we have a choice. We can choose to make the best of any situation. 

The key principle of one of the first EQ Explorers books is the fact that “happiness is a choice.” In Wally Whale’s Might Tail, Wally knows that we always have the choice to choose to be grateful for what we have—and not get hung up or envious about what we don’t. This simple fact can empower children, helping them avoid the pitfalls of blaming or expecting other people or things to create their happiness. Instead, when they realize they have the power to choose their own happiness, they can put their time, focus, and energy into creating big, happy lives.

I can give you similar reasoning for the importance of each principle of emotional intelligence—those taught in the first five books, which are now in print, and those in the 19-plus additional books to come. My dream is that the generation who grows up with the EQ Explorer series will have a big head start in life. They will be able to save all the energy so many people waste, running in circles with faulty emotional patterns. Instead, they can skip all that and use their energy to create happy, emotionally fulfilling lives. They can become inventors, creators, entrepreneurs, or anything they’re passionate about. And above all else, they can develop deep, meaningful connections with others.

What is the biggest piece of advice you would give parents to help them raise emotionally healthy children?

Find happiness within yourself. Create a big, happy life and your children will learn from the example you set and create big, happy lives for themselves. That’s right—your children’s happiness starts with you. It’s not about planning more playdates or bringing home the latest trendy toys. What your kids need most is you, as a role model of authentic happiness. I’m a mom of six, so I know first-hand how chaotic and demanding parenting gets—but be sure to take time out and nurture your own happiness. Think of it as a service to your kids, because they’re sure to benefit from your happiness and emotional health.

What has been your favorite travel destination or adventure?

My entire family is passionate about traveling, and we typically go on an international adventure together every year (when we’re not in the midst of a global pandemic). Three of my kids are recently married, so between spouses and fiancés our group can number up to a dozen people. The fact that we all choose to spend our vacation time together is a testament to the power of EQ—we genuinely enjoy traveling and exploring the world together. 

We’ve had the great fortune through the years to visit places like Italy, Mexico, South Africa, Australia, Peru, China, and most recently, New Zealand.

I’ve loved every trip for different reasons, but one adventure that was especially memorable was our trip to South Africa. The people there were warm and inviting and the animals were magnificent. We loved the views atop Table Mountain, enjoyed the penguins at Boulder Beach, and ended our trip at the Kapama Game Reserve where we saw everything from hippos to hyenas and leopards in their natural habitats. One of the great moments of my life was sitting as a family in our open-air cruiser, witnessing about 15 giraffes cross right in front of us. My third book, Jojo Giraffe’s Big Laugh, was inspired by the people and animals on that trip.

Are you working on any new projects you’d like to share with us?

I am definitely a person who thrives with a full plate!

First of all, there’s still a great deal of work to be done on EQ Explorers. I started the series with 24 principles of EQ in mind, and we’re working on the final proofs of book number six now, so there are quite a few more stories in various stages of development. On the foundation side of the project, my team and I are always on the lookout for opportunities to help children in need through the life-changing power of emotional intelligence and the direct donations and book donations that we provide.  Our latest project has been donating books and computers for a new library soon to open in the village of Jamune Bhanjyang, Nepal. 

I plan to launch a podcast as well, (the working title is the “Big Happy Life” podcast). Its purpose will be to help people let go of Pinterest-perfect ideals and instead nurture their true passions and find their joy (think EQ Explorers for adults).

And finally, I’ve recently taken on a new personal project—being the best grandmother I can possibly be! My son and his wife are proud new parents and I am over the moon to be Grandma Kim. I think back to the initial inspiration for EQ Explorers and now, holding my first grandchild—and with our first five books available for young readers—it feels like a full-circle moment indeed.

Kim, thank you for taking the time to share about your passion and your books. Congratulations on becoming a grandma, and we look forward to hearing more about the upcoming books in the EQ Explorers series.

ENTER HERE for your chance to win an EQ Explorers prize pack!

One (1) grand prize winner receives:

  • A copy of Jo Jo Giraffe’s Big Laugh autographed by Kim Linette.
  • A copy of Compare Bear’s Double Dare autographed by Kim Linette.
  • A copy of Wally Whale’s Mighty Tail autographed by Kim Linette.
  • A play fort perfect for reading and imagination play.

Two (2) winners receive:

  • A copy of Jo Jo Giraffe’s Big Laugh
  • A copy of Compare Bear’s Double Dare
  • A copy of Wally Whale’s Mighty Tail

Giveaway begins July 6, 2020, at 12:01 A.M. MT and ends August 6, 2020, at 11:59 P.M. MT.

Wally Whale’s Mighty Tail: Happiness is a Choice!

Written by Kim Linette
Illustrated by James Loram

Publisher’s Synopsis: The secret to happiness? It’s written on a whale’s tail. At least that’s what Koa hears, and so he sets out in search of Wally Whale and the valuable knowledge that he hopes Wally will share.

Wally Whale’s Mighty Tail, one of the first books in the EQ Explorers series, teaches the powerful EQ principle: Happiness is a Choice. It’s a lesson of emotional intelligence that is essential for any child—including Koa, who learns as he journeys through the Pacific with Wally Whale.

Ages 4-12 | Publisher: Kapalua Cove, LLC | August 1, 2019 | ISBN-13: 978-1950062003

Available Here: https://amzn.to/3deRJ4O

Compare Bear’s Double Dare: Be Yourself – Don’t Compare!

Written by Kim Linette
Illustrated by James Loram

Publisher’s Synopsis: The last thing Danny expects to come across during his hike in the forest is a very insecure bear. And yet, Compare Bear is precisely that—a bear who struggles to see his own strengths, and instead constantly compares himself to other animals, with astonishing results.

In Compare Bear’s Double Dare, one of the first books in the EQ Explorers series, Danny helps his unique new friend take to heart the powerful EQ principle: Be Yourself. Don’t Compare. It’s a lesson of emotional intelligence that is essential for any young reader.

Ages 4-12 | Publisher: Kapalua Cove, LLC | August 1, 2019 | ISBN-13: 978-1950062010

Available Here: https://amzn.to/2UUXdeS

Jojo Giraffe’s Big Laugh: Don’t Take Things Personally!

Written by Kim Linette
Illustrated by James Loram

Publisher’s Synopsis: Jojo Giraffe’s Big Laugh, the third book in the EQ Explorers series, takes children on a journey through the African Savannah, learning what it means to be wonderfully unique along the way—just like the spots on each and every giraffe.

The story centers around the powerful EQ principle: Don’t Take Things Personally. It’s a lesson of emotional intelligence that is essential for any child—including Kali, who learns through a series of fun adventures with Jojo Giraffe.

Ages 4-12 | Publisher: Kapalua Cove, LLC | April 21, 2020 | ISBN-13: 978-1950062096

Available Here: https://amzn.to/3fufdV2

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