It’s almost here, the release of my first two books in the series, Cultivating Compassion in Children! I had no idea when the release was “planned,” that something like COVID-19 would turn our lives upside down. It’s a time for all of us to exercise compassion and community, more than ever. We have entered the season of spring in the northern hemisphere, with new life and growth. As we cultivate our gardens, think about cultivating compassion in children. Plant the seeds, and nurture them through our positive examples.
When I first started writing, I searched for children’s books on the topics of understanding aging and disabilities to looking outside of themselves and realizing how inclusion and acceptance is critical in society. I found none to very little at the time. Also, where in our packed school curriculum do we discuss and teach what compassionate is and its importance?
My first story was inspired several years ago by advertisements questioning the beauty of being old. Another story was prompted by seeing firsthand small children misunderstanding disabilities related to aging. I was then driven to address compassion as I saw tween suicides in my surrounding neighborhood and mass shootings in schools in our suburbs. I sensed something was missing in our children’s education, something that should be planted and nurtured at a young age. I wrote the stories and then was fearful to take the next steps of publishing and getting them out. But I continued to get messages to move forward, which I have.
Cultivating Compassion in Children includes two characters, Seymour and Serina Seed that kick off and wrap up each story. They help to plant and nourish the seeds of compassion that include kindness, inclusion, acceptance, and understanding through the story and then discussion questions at the end of the stories. On my webpage there are activities that can be done by the child individually, with a parent or another adult, or something that can be done within the community related to the topic.
The first two books to be released include I’m Not a Weed, which is a story of Suzy sunflower who blows into a well-planned out perennial garden. She is loved and brings joy to Mrs. Gardener as she sees Suzy in the garden each day. But Mr. Gardener, being that Suzy was not a planned part of the garden, considers Suzy Sunflower a weed. Well, you know what happens to a weed in a well-maintained garden. The story ends well with a greater understanding of welcoming and acceptance of the unplanned.
The second book is called Can Old Be Beautiful. It’s a discussion between a little girl named Maggie and her grandmother about what makes things beautiful and whether old things can be beautiful. It’s a sweet discussion with beautiful illustrations, but what would you expect when we’re talking about beautiful things. Maggie comes to her own conclusion about beauty with the natural process of aging. This is an especially good read with grandparents, and a great gift idea for Mother’s Day.
Sign up for these books NOW! If you pre-order through my website, you will get an autographed book, a bookmark with a little magnifying glass, and FREE shipping. The significance of the magnifying glass is to see things better, bigger, and from a different perspective; and that’s the main purpose of my books. These books will be mailed to you the first part of May in time for Mother’s Day!
You can also stay up-to-date by adding your name distribution list via my website home page at sonjawendt.com. There I will share with you updates on my books and a newsletter with topics on Compassion.
Like Mr. Rogers, Welcome to My Neighborhood, and as Ellen says, Be Kind Everyone!
Welcome to My Garden,
Sonja Lange Wendt