I love everything about books and being a writer. I get so much joy from reading and writing, and sharing my love of literature with those around me.
My kids both share my love of books, and it is such an adventure to introduce them to classic favorites and discovering new favorites together. I wanted to share my love of writing, and the special feeling of being an author, with my preschool-age daughter Ariana and her classmates. After being a guest reader in her classroom, I had the idea of creating a book with the children. My daughter's teacher loved the idea, and I spent a morning working with the class to create The Springtime Egg.
The book written and illustrated by her class--Kaleb, Eve, Chandler, Ariana, Gabe, Aaron, Lorelai, Chloe, Caleb, Kaia, Xander, Gentry, Isaac, Camden, Charlotte, David, & Brayden--is now available on Amazon.com.
The kids came up with the idea of writing a story about a duck and her egg. Each child described their favorite weather and springtime activity that was happening while our egg refused to hatch. Finally, when spring was in full bloom, our egg hatched and a duckling emerged.
Once our story was complete, each child illustrated the page they described. I created the cover using the children’s illustrations. I put the book together and published it on Amazon. It is now available in print or ebook for Kindle or Kindle App.
I think it is so neat to teach them about the writing and publishing process, and to show them how even young children can accomplish something spectacular. I'm so proud of these kids!
You can see the book on Amazon. It is free to download right now on Kindle or Kindle App!
I think teaching children at a young age to see the magic in books is crucial. I am blessed to work with individuals who value literacy as much as I do, and we created Frantic Froggy, which promotes reading and indie authors. We've also published the book titled Frantic Froggy, which explores how one busy frog learns the simple joy of reading a book.
I created the infographic below with designer Andrew Frey (who has also created my awesome book covers!) to emphasize the importance of reading in children for their future.
As authors, we all have causes that are dear to our hearts and find their way into our books. Author Michelle Diana Lowe shares her attempt at using literature to give voice to sufferers of PTSD.
Guest Post by Michelle Diana Lowe
There is a great tradition of mental illness in fiction. The most memorable book on this topic is Charlotte Brontë’s, Jane Eyre. Since the first publication of Brontë’s classic novel in 1847, our understanding of mental health has changed considerably. Women who have a mental health problem are not locked away in attics, or spoken about by other people with fear or contempt, in the third person. No longer is mental illness seen as a disease, curse or punishment.
Contemporary women have a voice, to tell their own stories. Stories that are honest, real and absorbing. I am an author who has written a romance book that delves into the subject of mental illness. My debut novel is called UnShatter Me. It was published by US Publisher, UrbanEdge in August 2015. UnShatter Me tells the riveting story of nineteen year old Alena Pavlis, a college student who is trying to heal from a traumatic childhood experience. The novel explores her deep-rooted issues, the challenges she faces with PTSD and the problems she has in her relationship with boyfriend and fellow student, Phillip Gregson. The book shows Alena’s momentous journey to recovery and how she tackles her past demons. It is a raw, gutsy story with a strong romantic thread running throughout.
Some people say I am brave for writing this type of book. I say, I am doing my part to raise awareness of a very important subject that can sometimes be misrepresented in the media and press. In the literary world, authors have an opportunity to tell the true story of their hero or heroine, without negative stereotypes being played up or emphasized. We, as authors, give those with mental illness a real voice and platform to share their stories and experiences.
So far, I have read one book on mental illness that I found immensely compelling. This book is Prozac Nation, by Elizabeth Wurtzel. Prozac Nation is a really good read and I highly recommend it. Reading this book helped me to understand what having a serious mental health problem actually felt like. I got so deep into the psyche of the female protagonist and was so connected to her. As an aloof nineteen year old undergrad reading this book, I could totally relate to what the lead character was saying.
These are the five books on mental health that I would like to read this year:
1) She’s Come Undone, by Wally Lamb
2) Too Heavy a Yoke: Black Women and the Burden of Strength, by Chanequa Walker-Barnes
3) Mrs. Dalloway, by Virginia Woolf; Maureen Howard
4) I Never Promised You a Rose Garden, by Joanne Greenberg
5) Girl, Interrupted, by Susanna Kaysen
It is important that authors like myself write books on mental health and mental illness to raise awareness in today’s society and to allow those who do not ordinarily get a chance to speak, to do just that.
Thanks to Michelle Diana Lowe for sharing her story! You can grab a copy of her book UnShatter Me on Amazon.