Summer of Love

pooh and piglet

On Friday, August 2 from 6:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m. I’ll be featured with other local writers at The FoxTale Book Shoppe “Emerging Author Event” in Woodstock, GA. Needless to say (but I’ll say it anyway), I’m super excited about this opportunity to talk about my children’s picture book Gia and Lincoln’s Aggravating Allergies. But here is the catch, the theme of the event is “Summer of Love.” And I have five minutes to pimp my book.

Love, you say? What do allergies and love have in common? How will I possibly bridge that gap? Luckily, I don’t have to stretch too much, because despite the title of my book, the story is really about friendship, not allergies.

It’s a tale about the emerging bond between two kindred spirits who meet, and despite their differences and obstacles to their relationship, both desire to make their friendship work. Platonic love tied in a bow—well, tied up in a book perhaps.

When I set out to write this story, my goal wasn’t publication. The idea was conceived over four years ago as a creative exercise with my two daughters. We’d come up with plot and draw the pictures together. I envisioned a monkey and a lion, and my older daughter (whose blog alias is Brandi) “randomly” suggested allergies as the conversation topic between the characters. I say “randomly” because I’m not convinced that 6-year-olds actually hang around the classroom pencil sharpener and discuss their allergies. It was a puzzling request for a story line, but Brandi set forth the challenge and my job was to rise to the occasion.

In researching the children’s picture book market for books with an allergy focus, I found at least 10 or more picture books that deal with common food allergies like peanuts and eggs, and how to manage or avoid food triggers. This was not the story I wanted to write. My intention was to craft a narrative about the moment when two people meet and experience that “lightning bolt” instant when they think to themselves Wow! This person is awesome and totally gets me!

This feeling of intense connection is one that can happen at any age—from pre-school to twilight years—and it’s one of the most incredible feelings ever. It’s the bond that cements my friendships. I know in that moment that I am willing to invest my time in this person for the long haul. This is the real theme of my book. The allergies are woven in as a plot element to illustrate that the characters aren’t perfect, but they are lovable nonetheless.

Gia and Lincoln’s Aggravating Allergies is my labor of love. I often refer to it as “my third child” in which I’ve devoted my blood, sweat, tears, and let’s face it—money! I hope children who read my book will experience what it’s like to have an instant connection with a potential BFF, several times over. And that adults who read the book will ruminate on this energizing phenomenon when they think about their own besties.

A “Summer of Love” may be seasonal, but love between friends can last a lifetime.

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