Mamatoga Interview: Scott Campbell author & illustrator of Hug Machine

cvr9781442459359_9781442459359_hrI (fortunately) come from a family of huggers. I remember my mother telling me as a child that people need 8 hugs a day, something she once heard Virginia Satir, a respected family therapist say, who believed “We need four hugs a day for survival. We need eight hugs a day for maintenance. We need twelve hugs a day for growth.” Hugging makes us feel good, makes us feel safe, and makes us feel loved. Hugs can instantly boost oxytocin levels, which heal feelings of loneliness, isolation, and anger. Bottom line, hugs are important. So I was so excited when I saw that Scott Campbell, author and illustrator of the new children's book Hug Machine from Simon & Schuster was coming to Northshire Bookstore in Saratoga Springs on Friday, October 3rd at 10:30. His book, about a little boy on a mission to hug, is just so sweet and has such a positive vibe to it. I was lucky enough to do a little Q&A with Scott about his book, read more below and be sure to come by Northshire to see him on Friday (free & open to the public), you will definitely want to add this fantastic book for the littles to your family library. {ps, don't forget to find Tally Ho! while you're there} This is your debut as an author/illustrator.  What inspired you to choose hugging as the focus of your book?

I have always been a real advocate for hugs and hugging.  I am known as a huggy sort of dude from all my friends.  The idea for this book came from a series of doodles I played around with one morning that depicted people going about their daily business with a child attached to them, hugging them.  I thought it would be funny if they just kept doing their things with a kid attached to them. Then it was just exploring how the kid feels about it.  The kid would probably be super proud of his skills and want to share it with the world.  So that's why he calls himself the Hug Machine.  It is a self-proclaimed name.

If the little boy in Hug Machine had a message to spread with his hugging, what do you think that message would be?

I would say that he has two messages.  One is "Don't worry about anything.  Hugs will solve your problems.  Or at least make you feel super good."  But also, he is pretty proud of his hugging skills and would like the people of the world to know it.  He's saying, "I've got you covered when it comes to hugging.  I will make you feel amazing through hugs.  Wherever you roam and whoever you are.  No hug is impossible!"

from Hug Machine, written & illustrated by Scott Campbell

I can’t wait to read this one to my two-year-old, who has recently gone on a hugging strike and is resistant to any cuddling or snuggling.  Do you hope this book will help hugging averse kiddos be more willing to hug it out?

I hope so!  I think it is exciting to imagine everyone and everything getting a hug and enjoying it. I mean, if a tree can enjoy a hug, then you can enjoy one!  Just relax and let the hug take you into the chill zone.

Do you think this book has a message for parents as well, maybe for those of us that can sometimes be too busy for the simple spontaneous hug?

Oh, yes.  That is why many of the characters receiving hugs in this book from the Hug Machine are sort of caught mid task.  Someone might be watering a plant or waiting for the bus or eating a sandwich.  There is always time to pause and enjoy a hug.  It makes that task way more enjoyable and sometimes more endurable if it is something not incredibly fun normally.  Like doing one's taxes.  That might be a good moment for a hug break.  A quick power up.  It doesn't always need to be a hug to make someone feel better. It's like a tender power-up!

Hug Machine author and illustrator Scott Campbell

Many thanks for the interview Scott! {hugs}