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Deep Dive into FLOAT with Larry Daley

Updated: Apr 24

Have you ever wondered what drives an author to pour their heart and soul into a book? Well, get ready to uncover the secrets, as we delve into the mind of our incredible wordsmith, Larry Daley, and discover what inspired him to write FLOAT. But first, here is the story!

Imagine this: a perfectly planned field trip to the aquarium. A day filled with awe-inspiring marine life and educational experiences. But hold on tight because things take an unexpected turn! Our protagonist, Rosie, finds herself in a hilarious chase to reclaim her stolen school lunch. Yes, you read that right. A mischievous seagull swooped down and snatched her meal!

With adrenaline pumping through her veins, she abandons her classmates and bolts into action.

Through each exhibit she goes, determined to catch that lunch-stealing seagull. Most often we find her making a splash in the tanks, recovering her soggy lunch along the way.

But don't worry! The kind-hearted aquarium director, Mr. Gilley, offers words of encouragement as she realizes her mistake. With his help, Rosie finds a solution to the conundrum. Our unconventional field trip might end with a triumphant reunion between our lunch-deprived hero and her sandwich, but what she really recovers is more impactful than a lunch.


Why did you choose to write FLOAT?

Larry: I wanted to write a story about what happens when life throws you something you never expected. Our protagonist Rosie is a buoyant first-grader who gets her lunch stolen on a day that was supposed to be perfect. With a joyful mix of humor and a splash of heart, her story is about managing emotions and learning how to float when things don’t go exactly as planned.

Why did you choose a female protagonist?

Larry: I have three daughters who are not afraid to tell me how they feel or pursue whatever excites them for the future. A confident female protagonist can be both bold and earnest, and never shy away from a solution that’s admirable. The stories that I enjoy most balance chaos with a bit of kindness and I think there are no better stewards for chaos than undeterred,

optimistic young ladies.

Why is Mr. Gilley an important character?

Larry: Mr. Gilley is the reassuring adult we all need, particularly our children. As the one who

must track down Rosie in her mad quest to retrieve her lunch, Mr. Gilley brings a calm voice and a plan to de-escalate the situation. As a parent, chaos doesn’t always bring out the best in us. It’s important to be reminded that cooler heads prevail and kindness and pragmatic thinking often lead us to better solutions. Mistakes happen and emotions will always exist, but Mr. Gilley shows us empathy builds more confidence than punishment.

Why is FLOAT set at an aquarium?

Larry: Ever since my mom showed me how to draw a shark at age four, I wanted to know about every fish in the ocean. Sharks, whales, octopuses, dolphins, swordfish, sea turtles…it was hard

to have a favorite. As a kid I remember learning, “a whale can grow as big as my school bus? That’s amazing!” Every fish was spectacular, and every name was mesmerizing: the spotted

eagle ray, the giant grouper, the Mola mola, the Portuguese man o’ war, or the Harlequin

tuskfish. I wanted to draw them all. But more importantly, today’s marine aquariums allow us to see these creatures in person and experience the tranquil sensation of standing underwater. It was a perfect place to set a story about “finding your calm” in an environment that so beautifully reflects it.

What is the conflict in FLOAT?

Larry: FLOAT is a story where we see Rosie react to her lunch being stolen and doesn’t know

how to process the emotions racing through her; frustration, anger, panic, and confusion create the perfect storm for Rosie to make some bad choices during her aquarium visit. Fortunately, with a guiding hand from Mr. Gilley, we can also see Rosie learn from her mistakes and why it’s important not to overreact with unexpected events unfold.

Why did you choose a humorous and chaotic story?

Larry: Reactive behavior is unpredictable, and at times, can be innocently funny. I love stories with a little chaos. When the tables are turned, when things are shooting in all directions, when it’s never clear who to trust, a protagonist may try almost anything to get out of a bad situation. And when I find myself asking, “What would I do in that situation?” Then I know the story in pulling me in. Rosie is a character faced with a dilemma, but it’s unclear how she will solve it. If it’s wild, silly, and unexpected, then I’m already rooting for her.

What does the title FLOAT mean?

Larry: FLOAT is a metaphor for asking kids, “How do we recover when the unexpected

happens? What happens when a perfect day goes wrong?” For our character Rosie, she thinks this is going to be a perfect day…and then it isn’t. FLOAT is about recognizing when it’s time for a mind-shift and learning to find a new starting point when emotions get in the way. For the book, we decided FLOAT meant, “Failing, Learning and Overcoming Adversity Together” because we must float when we can’t swim. We must find the positives when we’re disappointed by the negatives.

Bookling Media: Thanks to Larry for answering these behind-the-scenes questions about FLOAT!


FLOAT will be available in the spring of 2025! Follow along at

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