It seems that all/most authors have an “ah-ha!” moment that coincides with the inspiration for a book. As I look back at my diverse children’s book publishing journey at my very first book, Love Is…, that specific “ah-ha moment” still brings a smile to my face.
Love Is…was my very first published book, so it was about a little more than just the message to the world for me; it was a message to myself.
I wanted to write a book for at least two decades, but like with many would-be authors, life has a way of being distracting! Even during my college years, my career-starting years, and my “raising babies” years, penning a picture book was always something that was rattling around in the back of my mind.
Then the day came when I realized the life demands would never be any less, and I would always have some set of obstacles. My thoughts once again returned to following through on that dream of writing and publishing a children’s book. However, even then, I couldn’t seem to get started! It was then that I had the thought that maybe lack of time wasn’t my real hang after all because time will always be an issue.
Maybe my real obstacle, the one that had been holding me back for decades, was fear.
Fear of putting myself out there.
Fear of rejection.
Just fear of doing something different.
Back then, I thought it sounded crazy and presumptuous of me to assume that anyone would want to pay to read what I had to say. However, I also knew that I had a story in my heart that needed to be shared. I wanted to spread a message of love and beauty throughout the world and Love Is… was the most gentle, non-threatening way for me to do it.
So I felt the fear…and did it anyway.
The result was my very first diverse picture book, Love Is…, that I published in 2014.
This book is a beautiful story that is a short 73 words long, but those words are powerful. During the writing process, I had repeatedly thought, “If I can just take these words and find someone to draw some stunning, meaningful imagery that would be the perfect formula to make this book amazing.”
Because every picture book needs illustrations!
That’s when the talented illustrator, Erika Busse, came into my life. Erika is a wonderful young artist who is from Louisville, KY, like me. One day I was spending time at a friend’s house, and I began talking about writing a children’s book. I shared my frustrations about needing an illustrator but not knowing where to even start to find one that was a good fit. That’s when my friend told me about Erika, who was a neighbor of hers.
Ask, and you shall find, right?
I felt as though Erika literally fell out of the sky. I was so blessed to find her and Erika is a lot like the girl in Love Is... as well.
The excitement of getting each page sent to me from Erika during the illustrating process was like Christmas every day! I never tired of seeing her name pop up in my email because the rush of anticipation was so exhilarating. Erika was 100% invested in the project so she was just as excited as I was. This made for a fun project that ended up being more of a celebration between the two of us–both giddy with excitement at the work we were creating. Slowly my book visually came to life, and it was rewarding beyond measure.
When I got the book finally finished the printing process, I felt so proud because the finished product turned out better than I could ever have imagined.
With that victory under my belt, my next thought was, “OK, now take the next 150 words you wrote and turn that into a book.”
From there, I couldn’t stop writing. It was a great way to begin my writing career and affirmation that I really could do this.
That was the “ah-ha moment” that launched a writing/publishing career that now totals TEN diverse books for kids. Looking back to those early days now fills me with pride and it’s crazy to me that Love Is…just celebrating its five-year Book Birthday!
My “why” on writing this book has never changed over the years either. Love seems like such a simple concept, but it is not. It is lacking today.
We have no love for others outside our circle, let alone tolerance. This book has a simple message, but it is one that bears repeating.
Love is precious, and we must nurture and take care of it. I love this book for all the ways that it shows how love is demonstrated in the world. We tell children we love them, but do we teach them that love lives all around us?
It is easy to get mad and to find signs of the opposite: hate, frustration, bitterness, conflict. Those things are just always louder and easier to spot.
My hope for all adults who are in the position to make an impact on a child is that we ALL teach children about the power of love and that we can feel love just as profoundly, in fact, more deeply than we can hate.
Just ask a mother who has forgiven the person responsible for the loss of their child. Love is truly the more profound, more genuine, more necessary emotion, but it is not always as easy to run to as hate. Teach that.
About Love Is…
Love is everywhere – and it is free. Through lyrical verse accompanied by beautiful illustrations, Deirdre Pecchioni Cummings reminds both little ones and adults about how important, fragile, and special love is to all of us.
Love Is…is a charming children’s book that shares a valuable message: that love is a gift meant to be shared by every being. Filled with beautiful illustrations and a stunning palette, this book is poetry in words and color.
A lovely illustrated book that shows us that while love is a free gift, it is something we should protect, and not take for granted. I loved how the illustrations show many different ways that love is expressed – many being ways we may forget. Cummings and Busse have come together to create another stellar book for assisting parents in sharing life’s many ups and downs and how to find the good in the downs, and celebrate the ups!~Amazon reviewer