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The Experience of Writing a Children’s Book

Writing a Children’s Book

Writing a children’s book was one of the most rewarding experiences in my life, mostly because it was a project that I co-created with my son Todd in the higher realms but also because it connected me back to the joy of writing that I discovered in high school. Having Storm of Joy recognized as an award winning book in 2017 by Reader’s Favorite and Best Book Awards is validation that I’m on the right track and serving others in a meaningful way that I enjoy.

Writing Storm of Joy

The writing experience around Storm of Joy was just the beginning of a new chapter in my life. I’m excited to see where it will take me over the next few years but I’m also honoring the part of me that has always known I was an author deep in my soul. To that high school sophomore who felt the first tinge of excitement in creating a compelling story through the power of the written word, I want you to know you were heard and acknowledged. I encourage my blog readers to trust whatever gives them joy and take some action, even if it’s just a baby step, in that direction. In doing so, they will discover the Universe has their back so they can bring their gifts into the world and make this a better place for one and all. That is my wish and Todd’s wish for each of them.

My Next Book

I’m definitely planning to write another children’s book within the next year, possibly two. I’m currently in the process of developing some new characters that will take on some adventures and use their superpowers to overcome challenges that they encounter along the way. With a little help from Todd, it will be coming soon so stay tuned for more details.

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Why I Wrote a Childrens Book

childrens book fairytale

Why A childrens book? Why not a book for a different age group?

It was an interesting series of events that resulted in my decision to write a childrens book, Storm of Joy. I really wasn’t expecting children to be the audience when I started the writing process for my first manuscript, Dancing Grief Into Joy. Initially, I felt compelled to write to adults about how I choose to communicate with my son Todd in a new way that I definitely don’t understand but I have come to trust it completely, enough even to start a non-profit, Dance with Todd. And by doing so and taking action on Divine guidance, I intended to show how that has opened my life up to blessings beyond my wildest dreams. Let’s call that initial cycle Version 1.0 which ended in rejection from a potential publisher but I did not stop. I went to Todd and said,

“What’s the deal? You told me to write the story this way and I did it. You told me to write a book proposal and send it to this publisher and I did that too. So, why did you have me do all of that if I wasn’t going to get a contract? That was not a good use of my time!”

And Todd’s response was simple and to the point when he asked, “What did you learn?” Well, it turns out that I learned a lot about the writing, editing and book publishing process with Version 1.0. Yes I did and it serves me well today.

Self Development to Childrens Book

But the book still wasn’t published and I felt stuck again. So I asked Todd for more help and this time he said, “It’s looking good Mom. Let’s take out the parts you wrote to convince other people that it was true.” What? Why do you talk to me in riddles like that? I don’t even know what you mean so I’m putting this manuscript on hold until you show me what that means. That was March 2015 and in September 2015, I received a writing assignment in a self-development program to assess our level of creativity. The only rule for the writing assignment was it must be a fairytale that starts with ‘once upon a time’ and ends with ‘they all lived happily ever after.’ Instantly, I looked up and said to Todd, “That’s it! That’s our book, isn’t it? It’s a childrens book about the story of our lives.” I can still hear him laughing when he shouted, “Bingo!”

Childrens Book Focused

While I won’t dismiss writing for adults in the future, writing for children at this point is where my focus resides. Children have an inquisitive nature and a trusting heart that serves as their internal GPS. I think my great accomplishment may be to give a childrens book where they learn to trust what they feel rather than what they see because that will serve them well throughout their life.

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My Inspiration to Become a Children’s Book Author

Children’s Book Author Inspiration

My children’s book author inspiration story begins in 1979. I was a sophomore in high school working on my one my first real writing assignments when I noticed how easily the words flowed from my mind to the paper. I wondered if I was doing it right but in hindsight that was just my own self-doubt checking in to tell me maybe I wasn’t that good at it. As it turned out, I got an “A” on that first major writing assignment and in that moment I realized that it was both easy and fun to create stories. I knew that writing was one of my gifts because it came from a place in my heart that makes me happy to do it.

Pushing Through and Overcoming Adversity

It took much more than some God-given raw talent to push me to become an children’s book author. It took more than 50 years of life experiences, filled with its ups and downs, to get me to a place where I felt that I had enough wisdom to write an inspiring story to share that might help others. And even then I paused. What did I know about becoming a children’s book author or publishing a book? Who has time to learn about that when I have other things to do? So again, I put writing a book on the back burner and focused on other things that gave me a sense of purpose in life.

I’m confident that each and every one of us has a story to tell.”

Todd Helped Me

I came to realize the idea of writing the book was not going to give me peace until dug into it and resigned myself to a process that I knew very little about. That was scary and that was when my son Todd, showed up in a new way to help me with the book. It was quite a learning process to say the least filled with excitement, rejection, disappointment and hope that in turn generated more excitement… and then the cycle repeated itself over and over until eventually I became a children’s book author with my first book, Storm of Joy.

children's book author of storm of joy

Storm of Joy

While Storm of Joy is based on my life story about overcoming the adversity of grief around Todd’s death, I’m confident that each and every one of us has a story to tell about things we have learned in our lives. No one is here by accident. Each and every person has a purpose and is constantly moving through their own sacred journey encountering life’s ups and downs and mastering the lessons along the way. So I became a children’s book author because I enjoy it and I continue to write to encourage others to do the same. Nobody can tell your story except you and if you focus on a time in your life where you wanted to give up but you didn’t, there’s a story there waiting to be told that will inspire others and bring you many blessings for having the courage to share your vulnerability with us.

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Grieving Parents Gift Idea: Storm of Joy

american author of storm of joy

When my son, Todd, passed away, I received a variety of gifts of condolences. Lots of food, flowers and money but the most cherished gifts were the stories, prayers, and books that people shared with me as a grieving parent gift. What helped me most to communicate with Todd was the gift of a book.

Grieving Parents Gift

A grieving parents gift that I treasured receiving was books. The books I especially enjoyed was anything written about an everlasting life. I know that we are all eternal souls, I feel that in my heart. However I did not fully understand what that meant. I was driven, as a mother, to find validation of what my heart felt but my mind couldn’t explain. Books became my source to expand my understanding of where Todd might be and more importantly how he was. All I really wanted to know was that he was okay and that I would one day hold him again in my arms.

Storm of Joy as a Grieving Parents Gift

grieving parents gift storm of joyTodd and I wrote Storm of Joy together. Storm of Joy is really a gift of hope to others, especially to grieving parents who have lost a child. While framed as a fairytale, Storm of Joy is based on the story of my life and my relationship with Todd both before and after his death. Our hope is that Storm of Joy opens the conversation about death in a way that both children and adults can relate to, in the energy of the child where all things are still possible. For it’s in that place that I believe we can all learn to communicate again with our loved ones in the higher realms. We know that we will join them there eventually, but we don’t have to wait until we get there to communicate again. How we communicate is as unique as each of us but Storm of Joy reminds us to trust what we can’t see and that’s why we believe it’s a great for a grieving parents gift. The love for a child lives on forever in our heart and Storm of Joy reminds us of what we know is true, that we are all eternal souls, that we can still communicate, and that we all live happily ever after.

More Grieving Parents Gift Ideas

grieving parent gift dance with toddDance with Todd is a non profit to assist others through their grief, one step, one dance at a time. Read more about what are good and bad grieving parents gifts.

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Children’s Book About Death And Dying

Children’s Book About Death And Dying

I was so ill-prepared to deal with the death of my son because, in part, death just wasn’t talked about in our society. I didn’t know how to help my only surviving child deal with the death of her sibling because I didn’t even know how to help myself. Looking back on it, I can see that my 10-year-old daughter lost so much the day my son died. She not only lost her sibling, she also lost her mother as well, as I fell into a deep dark place filled with pain and sadness. Her whole world was turned upside down and daily routines that provide children with a sense of security were completely destroyed.  Seeking out children’s book about death and dying can provide you with a great place to start in helping children heal and can be a great gift.

Death is Part of Life

Death is such a natural part of life and yet it seems to be so absent in our conversations, especially with children. If adults can have more open and honest conversations about death with our children, I’m convinced we will create a healthier society emotionally around the topic of death. Disney demonstrates how well children and adults alike respond to a positive message about death and loss with its ongoing success of the Broadway musical The Lion King. Death is the essential and natural part of the circle of life. Let’s talk to the children about it.

Sharing Feelings in my Children’s Book about Death and Dying

Honesty is the key ingredient as an adult to sharing feelings with children about death. It’s okay to let children know that as an adult we get sad and miss people when they die. It’s okay to let children know that someday they will die and there will be people that will be sad and miss them too. As adults, the more honest we can be with ourselves about death, the more credibility we will have with children on the subject. This is why the subject of death in my children’s book about death and dying is not skirted around.

Storm of Joy

Storm of Joy offers a message of hope to audiences of all ages as a children’s book about death and dying as it reminds us to trust what we feel rather than only what we see. Children are more receptive to this type of message than adults because they simply operate more from the innocent heart than the mind. If we can help the children understand early on how everyone, including each of them, will ultimately experience death in this lifetime, they will be so much better prepared to deal with death than I ever was.

That is my hope for a lasting legacy with Storm of Joy. One story. One child at a time. While honoring the feelings of sadness in grief is a necessary part of life, getting stuck in the suffering and depression is not. The resiliency of children is a model for one and all when it comes to grief. Let the children lead.

Storm of Joy in the Classroom

children's book about death and dying | teaching about deathchildren's book about death and dying | education blog First-grade teacher, and blogger, Angela Choate incorporates Storm of Joy in her classroom. Including children’s book about death and dying in her classroom have helped children cope with this sensitive topic. Mrs. Choate discusses the sensitive subject of teaching about death with her elementary class when there is an incident of death of a pet, student, or student family member in her classroom. Mrs. Choate even has a FREE lesson plan on her blog post: Teaching About Death: Grief in the Classroom

“It is important to talk to students if they are dealing with grief. This shows them you are interested in them and are there to support and help them. Sherri’s children’s book about death and dying is a perfect way to bring up this sensitive subject in a classroom setting.” – Mrs. Choate

Education Coffee Break: Education Blog

education coffee break
Education Coffee Break is an education blog for primary grade levels. The blog contains information on ELA, Literacy Centers, Math, Guided Math, Technology Integration, Planning and Preparation, Classroom and Behavior Management, Classroom Organization, and much more.