I love to write.
Blog posts, articles, books, …you name it. The beauty and power of words fascinate me.
Penning children’s books is a whole different story.
The majority of the stories I write about come from experiences I have had through my work as a therapist with children in foster care. There is something so disheartening about working alongside children who regularly experience such heartbreak. I wanted to write stories of hope and how they too could find hope even in their darkest hour.
My book, Heart, was written solely with that purpose in mind.
Heart is a book for all ages and all walks of life because, within the pages, readers, parents, and educators will find affirmations that will soothe their battered heart. The gentle lesson in the book is that, when our heart closes from fear, other emotions like love, peace, joy, and happiness become closed off as well.
This was a recurring issue that I saw in the foster kids that I worked with as a family therapist. When these traumatized kids read Heart, it’s my hope that the lyrical prose and stunning illustrations will reignite their beliefs of love, life, faith, and the power of prayer.
Heart will help lift readers’ spirits and serves as a guide to the path to healing.
I also love writing for children because they still believe in the power of anything. Kids believe that you can fly on the wings of a butterfly or that you can tunnel your way to Australia straight from your backyard. That kind of thinking alone is kind of magical. Children’s books lift me up and remind me of the beauty and simplicity of the world. And a lot of times they leave me with the feeling that I can do anything I want to.
Some of the diverse picture books that I’ve written, like In the Nick of Time, were almost effortless for me to write because the story came straight from a message that was on my heart.
I love the beach so much that one of my earliest books, My Trip to the Beach, is all about how readers can visualize a trip to the beach to help calm and focus when physically *going* to the beach isn’t possible for them. This is an especially helpful tool during a time when pandemic-related restrictions are at an all-time high.
Sometimes I feel like stories like this one almost “fall out of me” because they are so much of a part of me as a person. The series I am working on now, Kayla: A Modern-Day Princess, is loosely based on my daughter’s life who just so happens to be a Broadway actress. I felt very compelled to write the Kayla series not only because I am incredibly proud of my daughter, Kayla Pecchoni, but also because I recognize a growing love of musical theatre among kids and their families.
This series is about a little girl who follows her dreams even when other people in her life have a different set of expectations for her.
All of the books I have written, in addition to this series, are very special to me because I know I am helping to fill the gap and reduce the lack of picture books with Black children in there. It makes me very proud to know that, because of the 10 diverse picture books I have published, kids will have an easier time finding a book with a lead character who looks like they do.
It is important for me to write stories for children of diverse backgrounds and experiences because they deserve to feel their stories are important to the world too.
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