Archive for March, 2008

The book has been sent to print

Wednesday, March 12th, 2008

We recently got an email from PublishAmerica that our book was sent to print, and can now be ordered at their online store. The book is scheduled to be available in early May!

If you are interested in ordering, you can go to the PublishAmerica Online Store, and search for the title of the book, “The Squid Kids” (don’t use quotes in their search text box). You should see our book come up as a result.

Right at this moment, their search function is not working, unfortunately.  So if you have problems, please try again later… it will work eventually… I hope.

The Squid Kids – how it began

Tuesday, March 4th, 2008

My friends and family will remember when, six years ago, I went to Russia with my cousin to meet the children she hoped to adopt.  We arrived in August, in time for the birthdays of the two youngest.  Each August thereafter I have tried to visit them in their home in Charleston.

When Lulu had her 4th birthday, I took her and her sister Elizabeth to Folly Beach to go fishing.  Elizabeth had awakened that morning thoroughly frightened by her nightmares of being chased by sharks.  She insisted that she, a good swimmer who loved to swim in the sea, would never go into the ocean again.

Once out on the Folly Beach Pier, we began to try to prepare her rod for fishing, attaching a weight and bait.  A couple of young men fishing next to us noticed our lack of know-how and offered help, which we gladly accepted.  They lent us a larger weight, gave us bait and helped Elizabeth bait her hook.  And what do you think she caught, almost immediately?  A tiny shark!  It was a helpless little thing, about seven inches long and thoroughly hooked through its lip.  Elizabeth had to decide on life or death for that little shark — whether to save that baby by removing it from her hook as painlessly as possible and tossing it back or to kill it.  She chose life for the shark.  She freed it and returned it to the sea and continued fishing.  And we never again heard her say she was not going to swim in the ocean.

Meanwhile, Lu was intrigued with the squid which the two young men, who turned out to be medical students, were beginning to dissect for bait.  They seemed happy to describe to her the parts of the squid and how each worked, and she looked and listened avidly.

Later, I tried to find a book on squids for Lu, since she had been so interested.  To my surprise, none seemed to exist for young children, as I explored libraries and bookstores.   There were books on giant squid and octopuses, but nothing on squid.  Friend Jim, himself enamored of our flora and fauna and its history, said, “Why don’t you just write one?”  As a former biology teacher, I had plenty of information and interest.  And I remembered the wonderful animal stories our dad made up for us, which always required creativity as I passed them along to sons and neices, and my delight in hearing and telling them.

Thus began the story of Suzy and Sammy Squid, the squid kids.  It was quite clear that a book for four-year-olds needed pictures, and so I asked my third grade friend, Linda, and her daughter Marya to consider doing the drawings.  Each of them was an adept artist and sketcher, in my view, and I was so happy that Marya happily agreed to create the visual Sammy and Suzy — making them come to life for the children who would read the book.

At the risk of creating a sexist document, I urged Marya to distinguish between the two squid kids by giving Suzy eyelashes.  And sexism came into the picture again.  Friends, grandmothers of four-year-olds, read the draft for us and one challenged, “Mrs Robinson, are you being sexist here?”  She noticed that Sammy was taking the lead in teaching Suzy.  Thus I had to make sure Suzy,  just as ingenious as Sammy, took the lead in teaching him some of the wonderful ways those two kids, like all squid kids, learned.

Especially fun for me, in trying to write for four-year-olds, was not only creating a simple but compelling story and one which is educational, but also adding the messages dear to my heart, i.e. we help most by teaching the other how to do it rather than by doing it for her or him, and we can do ‘most anything we really think we can if we try.

Hoping this little book will bring happy reading to children and those who read to them.