Daring to Dream: Where Ideas (Like the Louisville Book Festival) Come From

When a person dares to dream, they often find that their dream originates because they are dissatisfied with something in their life. or they witnessed something in someone else’s life that could be improved. Think of all the inventions that have been created because someone saw a need for a new tool or gadget that would make life better. The lightbulb, the cotton gin, traffic lights, and even washers and dryers.

Other people may have a dream that seems to come out of nowhere. An idea just pops into their head and sets them on fire!

The Louisville Book Festival, which is coming up on November 10 and 11th, 2023, was once a dream for founder Deedee Cummings, but its origin resulted from other dreams that she had. Here’s a recent Q & A with author and serial entrepreneur, Deedee Cummings.

Did your various professional dreams just pop into your mind or did you see changes that needed to be made that inspired you?

I was a CPS worker, went to law school at night, and was a single mother. I was fed up with the injustice I saw in Family Court, but by the time I finished Law School, I wanted nothing more to do with Family Court. What I really wanted to do was solve problems, not fight, and being a lawyer demanded a lifestyle of tension and conflict that I did not want to live. 
I became a therapist because I could still do many of the things that had appealed to me about being a lawyer: problem solving, helping people understand their path, advocating for others, and seeking better alternatives to chaos.
But also, something moved in me when I became a mom. I knew immediately that I would have to set an example for my daughter. If I wanted her to follow her dreams, I had to follow mine.
When did the dream to write your books come into play?
Through my work as a therapist, I started using books with children as part of their therapy. It was a great way to get insight into the way they think. Kids don’t talk the way we do. They are not going to come into your office and layout on a couch and tell everything that is troubling them. But kids will talk about characters in a book which gives you some insight into the way they think. I noticed when the books had characters who looked like my clients or reflected their experiences the children were much more engaged. When I had trouble finding these books, I began writing my own. I really had no idea what an extreme lack of diversity in publishing there was until I started looking for these books. If you have been searching for books for kids you care about who look like you and had no issue finding them you are privileged. 

Did more dreams spring from this?

So many dreams. I used to look back at my career and think it was such a hodgepodge of people, places and things and then one day I looked up and it all made sense. It was like pieces of a puzzle coming together. The entire path- the whole journey. It all lined up. I was meant to be here. I was meant to do this work. This is the power of finding your passion and your purpose.

I founded It Pays to Read to encourage kids to find and read these books- which has been truly lifechanging. And then from that came the  Louisville Book Festival, which is now, unbelievably, entering its fourth year. 

Take time to listen to your heart. Don’t get stuck living your whole life doing what you have to do. Make a way to do some things you want to do. This is where you will find your passion. This is where you will find the reason you were meant to be here. 

About Deedee Cummings

As a therapist, attorney, author, and CEO of Make A Way Media, Deedee Cummings has a passion for making the world a better place. All 16 of Cummings’ diverse picture, poetry, and workbooks for kids reflect her professional knowledge and love of life. Colorful and vibrant, her children’s books are not only fun for kids and adults to read, they also work to teach coping skills, reinforce the universal message of love, encourage mindfulness, and facilitate inclusion for all. Cummings has spent more than two decades working within the family therapy and support field and much of her writing shares her experiences of working with kids in therapeutic foster care. As a result, her catalogs of published books for kids are filled with positive, hopeful messages. Using therapeutic techniques in her stories to teach coping skills, Cummings also strives to lessen the stigma that some people feel when it comes to receiving mental health assistance.
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