Blogapalooz-Hour? ChicagoNow’s challenge to me. How did this rookie do? – ChicagoNow (blog)

As a ChicagoNow blogger, I’m right now participating in my first Blogapalooz-Hour, which is a challenge to all of its bloggers to respond to a given topic in one hour and post. Though not at my desk for the official 10 a.m-11 a.m. block, I set the clock to 60 and here I go!

On your mark, get set, write. The topic: My favorite thing I ever wrote and why.

Easy one! Crazy Hair and It’s Just a Potato as a two-part series of kids’ books are – by a landslide – my winner! And here’s the why:

Publishing kids’ books has been a dream of mine since I was little. I would type stories, print them out, paste them into bound books and draw pictures. Today, a couple of my early “books” are on my nightstand!

So when adult ambition, having two kids of my own, and modern technology making book publishing a much more accessible feat combined forces, I went for it just two years ago and pulled out my draft of Crazy Hair, which I had first written about four years earlier on the back of a pamphlet on an airplane. (When you get an idea, write it down, right?!)

Crazy Hair is the story of a little girl and her mom who learn to embrace wild and crazy hair, and each other’s differences. It teaches kids to recognize differences, feel confident and experience self-love. And it’s 100% based upon my life with my curly-haired little lady who would wake up each day and ask if she had crazy hair. Sure enough she did, but it was gorgeous and unique, and teaching her to believe that became one of many mommy missions for me.

I had a dream to publish a kids’ book, and two of my life missions could be accomplished in one huge effort. So when I was 38 and again at 39 my childhood dream was realized (two kids, two books – duh!), and now I spend some of my “free” time visiting classrooms to give my “I Had a Dream Speech” with hopes of inspiring little ones to go after their dreams. I also preach the messages of the books: “Be confident!” in how you look; and It’s Just a Potato’s message to “Be brave!” and try new foods. (Book 1 inspired by crazy-haired daughter, book 2 inspired by a very picky and particular son.)

The books are for sale on Amazon (so cool!), and I sell them signed and dedicated directly to customers (message me!), but selling the books is a bonus. What makes these books one of the most special things I’ve ever done is how it makes my kids feel. They are unbelievably proud of me. What more could a mommy want? Can’t think of much!

I have overheard them bragging about me to other adults. Pulling out a copy of the books to show new friends, talking to teachers about how I am an author and can teach kids about writing, and even pitching new book topics to keep me inspired and motivated to write more. (About weekly I get a pitch from one of their friends!) They are deeply and awe-inspiringly proud of me.

Writing these books helped me help my kids. Curly girl loves her hair and claims to be a little “famous” for it. Picky boy still is particular about foods, but at 5 he can articulate that trying new foods makes him nervous but he’ll be brave (sometimes) and take just one bite.

My childhood dream and mommy mission were accomplished with my two books, but what makes the experience my absolute favorite was something I didn’t expect to hit with such force: their pride in me. I’m proud of my kids every day for being the best little people they can be, but I’m sure most parents would agree the roles almost never reverse.

Grateful Girl feels tremendous gratitude for the intended and surprise gifts I received when I published Crazy Hair and It’s Just a Potato – by a landslide victory my favorite things I ever wrote!

Oh, yes, of course I would love for you to check out the books and LIKE this Facebook page:

And message me to buy signed copies — the little people and teachers in your life will LOVE them!


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