If somebody were to ask me why I write children’s books I would respond, “Because I felt these books were needed.” Books about attitudes for children were hard to find at my public library and I needed them badly. I needed books that had humor and spoke to a child’s broken heart; a child’s heart that needed mending. My last two children came home to me after suffering truamatic experiences within the first three years of their lives. It took years for me to figure out that the neurons in my youngest children’s brains had actually been affected from those experiences. They both had severe cases of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder along with other disorders caused from those most traumatic years. The fear held them captive and not wanting to cooperate with our family. The two children stuggled to understand why I tried so hard to keep them with me and a family that would love them for the rest of their lives. They did not believe in love.
After struggling for many years, trying to understand why my last two children would not bond with me, I started a new adventure learning how to parent in therapeutic ways. After many years of frustrated efforts to help my children I finally started to find a few answers. It was a very lonely parenting trek with hospitalizations and residential treatment facilities that were required during times of great turmoil for the children and the rest of our family. I started meeting other parents in the same boat I was in and we were rowing hard but going nowhere; but we all finally felt validated that we were not the only parents having a difficult time finding the help that our truamatized children needed. After spending many years watching the struggles of truamatized children some stories started to develop in my mind. One day I sat down and started jotting down the rhyming words and was amazed to see the patterns coming together on the page. I could visualize the pictures that would make the words come to life. After completing the stories I realized that they could help all children… not just the traumatized ones. I started reading my stories to children’s groups and enjoyed the laughter.
I met a wonderful man named Lee Baker at a book stand at a city celebration in my state. I asked him who had made the illustrations in his books and it started us talking about my project. He asked me to meet with him at his office at Sandman Studios. He had an idea about who could illustrate my books and introduced me to David Nimitz. I never had to explain much to David about what I wanted the pages to look like. I would tell him and I felt he could read my mind. We became a great team. He would send me the rough sketches and they were perfect. Stephen Sobisky also worked at Sandman Studios and did the clean up artwork for us. We have had a wonderful time working together as a team. We are looking forward to completing the series and at this time (2015) there are twelve more books to be completed.
I feel it is important to advocate for other parents raising children from traumatic pasts. I belong to the Parent Advisory Council in my state. I belong to six different support groups to listen to other parents and gain more experience from them. There are so many different stories of children coming from situations involving war crimes or poverty. Some children come to America from countries that had no services for them. Other children witnessed crimes or drug scenes that marred the way they visualize life. Some children have suffered from different types of abuse. The lists go on and on. Our prisons are filling with misunderstood individuals, children who turn eighteen and never received the therapeutic help they needed. It is my wish to continue sitting on different parenting counsels to get the services these children need. They need lots of support, guidance, equestrian therapy, and attachment therapies to help them learn how to join into a society that is hard for them to believe in. It is my dream to help create a village for these children in my state; a village full of people who understand why the children react the way they do, a village with structure that these children so desperately need, a village with the special schooling techniques these children need. We need a safe place for these children and their families to heal. If a child gets the right therapy they may be able to return to their first family and become productive citizens rather than be passed from foster home to foster home and eventually end up in prison.
I have a dream and it all starts with these books. I hope you enjoy them.