Why did you write the book?

I wanted to share with children the concepts of letting go, surrender, and going with the flow. I thought that if kids learned these powerful ways of responding to challenges, it could save them a lot of stress as adults.

I wanted to encourage children to believe in themselves, to help others, and to follow their dreams.

Why did you include questions at the end of the book?

People can interpret Gracie’s “secret” in many ways. I wanted to encourage discussion between child readers and their parents or caregivers. I also wanted to give kids ideas on ways to boost their self-esteem.

Did you do the illustrations yourself?

No. Vancouver illustrator and animator Lillian Lai provided original drawings. Most publishers of children’s books choose an illustrator from their own stable of artists, selecting someone whose creative style meshes with the tone and spirit of the book.

What age group is your book aimed at?

Seven- to nine-year-olds, although six- and 10-year-olds might like it too. Many adults have told me that their grandchildren or young relatives, as young as two, three, and four, have enjoyed the book. It will appeal to any adults who are young at heart.

How did you target the age group for the book?

I had several people read an earlier version of the story to two different groups of five-year-olds. Some of the kids thought that Gracie was being punished. They didn’t grasp the main concepts. I realized then that the tale would work better with older children.

How did you find a publisher?

I ended up sharing a table with the publisher at a literary reading in Gibsons, BC. When I heard that children’s books were one of his genres, I thought: Why not send him my Gracie story? I emailed it to him after revising it a few times. He liked it.

Before that, it was a long process of researching children’s book publishers at the library, at bookstores, and online. I collected a lot of rejection slips before I got a “Yes.” I provide more details about how the book came about — it took 20 years from idea to publication — on this website, under Writing the book and Pictures.

How do I find out more about writing for children?

  • Join a writing association that caters to children’s authors and illustrators, such as CANSCAIP (Canadian Society of Children’s Authors, Illustrators and Performers) or SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) in the U.S.
  • Attend writing workshops offered by children’s authors.
  • Read children’s books and decide what type of stories you like.
  • Familiarize yourself with the writing requirements (book length, complexity of words, etc) for each age group.
  • Find authors and publishers who create the type of children’s book that you’d like to write. Do research online, visit libraries and bookstores.
  • Read online resources. Here are just a few:

Children’s Book Insider

So You Want to Write a Picture Book? by Margot Finke

Understanding Children’s Book Genres by Laura Backes

Writing Children’s Books for Dummies (Cheat Sheet) by Lisa Rojany Buccieri and Peter Economy

Writing For Kids

Writing, Illustrating and Publishing Children’s Books by Harold Underdown, a children’s book editor

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