The Leopard and The Mouse
When the photos of the real-life leopard and mouse encounter arrived in my email, I was entranced. Here was a gentle giant and a tiny, fearless creature! It was a story waiting to be written - one that would enchant children everywhere - encouraging them to accept differences and think before acting, as well provide many examples of positive social behavior. Published on April 1st, 2011 The Leopard and The Mouse, is my first children's book.
My sincere thanks to everyone who has bought the book and to those of you who have written reviews, sent me emails or called to say how much you love The Leopard and The Mouse - your words have been heartwarming! The book is now available in Canada, France and Norway, as well as here in the United States and the UK.
"Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand." Albert Einstein
The Leopard and The Mouse, the children’s book I have written, has been published and is now available in bookstores and online at Amazon, Balboa Press and Barnes & Noble. This project has been a real labor of love! It is a charming story book full of beautiful illustrations by artist Jan Stamm, which I hope will inspire children of all ages.
I have been asked by friends if this book is the result of a long-held desire to write children’s books. And I have to laughingly answer, no! However, I will say that during these past few years my desire to create has been very strong and I have been focused on making many beautiful things in my life, with amazing results.
My creative phase began with putting together flower arrangements (a skill for which I have never received any training or even thought I had any aptitude) and I now have a house full of lovely creations brightening up each room. Next I moved on to water-color painting and while there are less of these in my home, I am very proud of the results since my previous attempts at art were limited to stick figures! About a year ago I took a jewelry-making class with a friend and that has led to having a draw full of pretty pieces! Some have even been given or sold to friends and it is a real thrill for me to see them out and about wearing them.
Writing, which was a part of my work responsibilities for a long time and is something that I have used on and off in my personal life as therapy during difficult times, took on much more importance in my life about eighteen months ago. At the insistence of a close friend, I joined a local writer’s group where I live and started participating on a regular basis. Then, after I had entered a spiritual book contract competition (also at the insistence of the same friend) I decided to start a website. As regular visitors to this site know, that was almost one year ago. I must admit I found the set-up process quite challenging but then started to really enjoy the discipline of writing, which was important because I had to write a post every week!
However, during meditations I kept getting prompts to do more. Thoughts about what to do were constantly flowing in and out of my mind. Ideas began to become more focused and I decided I wanted to write a book – not the spiritual book for adults I had wanted to win the book contract for, but a children’s book. Through a step by step process that seems almost magical now, I have completed the project I began about nine months ago. It was back then that I received an email with attachment of some photographs of a real-life leopard and mouse encounter, and was inspired to write the tale of the Leopard and The Mouse. Two of the photographs, taken by the talented young English photographer Casey Gutteridge, appear with permission in the book, on the Acknowledgements page.
If anyone had told me all that was involved in making this happen, I may have given up on the idea before I got started, so it is probably just as well that I knew absolutely nothing about what I was getting into! But as I reflect on the smooth way everything flowed, I can see that I did not need to know anything. Each step of the way – from seeing the photographs, to writing the story, to having it win a prize in a short story competition, to choosing an illustrator, to finding a publisher, to managing the whole process – I was guided so that even though it was work, everything easily fell into place.
Childhood experiences and life as a mother and grandma have taught me how wonderful imagination is. From toddler to teenager, it was my own imagination that took me to better places than the reality in which I found myself. And it is my intention that this little story will find its way into the imagination and hearts of all the children and adults who read it. It is my desire that the children will absorb the helpful messages about positive social behavior, thinking and self-awareness. It is my hope that they will be inspired to overcome fear and connect with their own strong, calm energy.
So I have as they say, put it out there. I believe that The Leopard and the Mouse will fly, on the wings of the love, to inspire and bring joy to each and every child for whom it was written.
WHAT'S NEW WITH THE LEOPARD AND THE MOUSE?
It was my pleasure to meet and talk with so many lovely people at our local Fall Festival. I really enjoyed signing and personalizing copies of The Leopard and The Mouse, for you to give as gifts to all those special children in your life. I just know they will love the story.
Thanks so much to Chris and Honey at Big Cat Rescue in Tampa, Fl. They sold out of the signed copies they had and ordered a whole bunch more!
I was away for a few weeks and had the opportunity to visit a children's school in an Orphanage in Cambodia. I was so happy to meet the sweet children there and donate a copy of my book to the library there. It was such fun to answer the children's questions and show them the book.
July 30th: I received my Award Certificate this month from the KART Foundation – it’s beautiful!!
May 30th:I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to Big Cat Rescue in Tampa, Fl. on Saturday May12th. It was wonderful to see all those beautiful big and small cats at this caring non-profit sanctuary. The Leopard and The Mouse is now being sold in the gift shop there! It will also be offered in their online store, soon.
December 30th: My thanks to all of you who bought copies of The Leopard and The Mouse from me recently as Christmas or Holiday gifts for the children in your life, Thank You! I am thrilled that you have chosen to give them this book, from the huge selection of children's books there are to choose from
November 30th : Thank you so much to everyone who has purchased my book recently. It seems like every week during November I heard from someone who wanted to buy one or more copies of The Leopard and The Mouse. Thank you too, for your heartwarming feedback about the story and positive comments on Jan's beautiful illustrations. I appreciate your support.
If you loved the book, please recommend it to family and friends or post information about it on your Facebook page or web site -- thanks so much!
October 30th: Thank you so much to all of you who bought The Leopard and The Mouse at the Craft Fair this month. It was wonderful to chat with you and receive your kind comments about the book and the recognition by the KART Foundation.
The Leopard and The Mouse was one of the books selected in the pre-school age category 2 - 5, as follows:
"The 2011 KART Kids Book List winners have been posted on our website at http://www.kartfoundation.org. The formal book list will be distributed and title webpages will be published by late November or early December...
If you did not make the list, understand that the selection committee's choices do not reflect the merit of your works. We had over 1,000 entries to review and chose 32 books from the entries to promote for the 2011/2012 year."
Many, many thanks to all of you who have bought the book – I really appreciate your support.
This month I also had the pleasure of doing some readings to 1st graders at a local private school. It was such fun! I read The Leopard and The Mouse to four groups of little ones, who seemed to really enjoy the story. My thanks to the head librarian at the school, who made my visit possible.
My best moment came when one young student offered the feedback "I just love that story", as he left - a completely unsolicited, and now my all-time favorite comment!
September 30th: I sold quite a few signed copies of my book to neighbours and friends - thank you all so much for the positive feedback and support. I received my first royalities check from the publisher!
July and August: These were relatively quiet months with my priority being taking care of my husband after his foot operation. Still, I had emails asking me to sign and mail my book out and friends stopping by to buy signed copies for their children/grandchildren - thanks so much to all of you for your interest in the story and your support. I am working on a couple of events in September and October. More news on these to follow.
June 30th: What a wonderful month! I was in England for a book-signing at The Jaffe & Neale book shop in Chipping Campden. Thanks to the lovely people I met there who bought the book for their children and/or friends - I really enjoyed meeting you.
It was also such a pleasure to meet Casey Gutteridge - the young photographer who took the photos of the real-life encounter between a leopard and a mouse. I loved hearing about how Casey managed to snap those pictures and I was able to thank him in person, for providing me with the inspiration for my story.
Reading the book to six classes at the Goldington Green Lower School, in Bedford was another highlight of my trip to England. The children were wonderful and told me they loved the story! I was so happy to meet some of the teachers and parents, as well as sign and hand out copies to all those little ones for whom the story was written.
It was so good to see my friends and meet new neighbors at my book signing on May 18th. Thank you so much to all of you who bought the book and told me how wonderful you think it is!
My goal is to reach one million children around the world! I am working hard to promote the book, and am also asking that you help me do that. Please get the book - The Leopard and The Mouse - out there, by using this link to my web page about the story, author and illustrator:
Please forward the link to family and friends and anyone or everyone else you think may be interested in the story!