As parents, we make plenty of sacrifices for our children -- losing sleep to care for a sick child, spending hours in the car to shuffle children to countless activities, setting aside money for their education or other ventures...the list goes on and on. It is fair to say that these sacrifices can cause stress and frustration in daily life. I believe that all of the sacrifices and the feelings of frustration and stress are erased from our memory when we receive a spontaneous hug, see a smile after an accomplishment, or hear our children say "thank you". These are a few examples of how our children repay us for our hard work. Recently, I have been thinking that one of the greatest gifts a child can give to a parent is by inspiring us to be our best.
Susanna Leonard Hill received a "gift" from her children. They have inspired her to write her "best" stories. Her two-year-old son's love of heavy machinery lead her to write her first book, The House that Mack Built. Her book Not Yet Rosewas written after her experience of helping her own children understand the anticipation of a new baby. Her son's troubles falling asleep at night may have been frustrating at times, but it was partially responsible for her book Can't Sleep without Sheep (Iza Trapani). In many interviews including one with Miss Marple's Musings Susanna talks about being a mom and a writer, "My routine for writing is as follows: Write whenever I have time! Even though writing is my career, my first duty is to my family." Despite this commitment to her family, she has managed to publish ten books for children including the very popularApril Fool, Phyllis! that just went on a World Tour. In addition to the books she has a very successful website and blog that helps teachers with lesson ideas, parents with book recommendations, and aspiring writer's with advice.
I was so excited to celebrate Susanna's birthday with my family after getting to know her through the 12 x 12 in 2012 Picture Book Writing Challenge. With so many great books to choose from I wasn't surprised that a birthday celebration activity came easily. My two boys loved her bookNo Sword Fighting in the House. It is a story about two brothers, their gardening-award-seeking-mother, a couple of cows, and ruined daffodils. From an interview with Just Children's Books, "When my son was 3, he was very interested in knights. My husband thought it would be a great idea to make the kids little wooden swords (they were 5, 3, and 1 mind you!) Then, as an after-thought, he made them cardboard helmets (something backwards there.) Predictably, the kids loved them. They ran around the house and jumped all over the furniture swinging their swords and yelling, and I did have to say, "No sword fighting in the house!"
My thoughts were in sync with Susanna's husband. However, instead of wooden swords and cardboard helmets I had the idea to make swords (or light sabers) out of a common swimming pool accessory. - Click Here to Read More -