Local children weigh in on meaningful gifts


Sawgrass Village’s recent “Oh What Fun!” Christmas celebration afforded a local children’s author a chance to learn what gifts children truly cherish.

Rhonda Goodall recently published her debut children’s book, “Frizzle,” about a fuzzy blue creature trying to find his place in the world of Happytown, USA. The author has two more books awaiting publication, and with Christmas quickly approaching she decided to hold a contest asking young readers what was the nicest thing they could give someone that didn’t cost any money.

The prize: the chance to appear as a character in one of her upcoming stories.

“I thought to myself, ‘it’d be so wonderful to see what children want to give to people,’” said Goodall, who launched the Frizzle Holiday Contest at Peterbrooke Chocolatier during the Sawgrass Village event.

Goodall was so touched by the children’s responses, however, that she couldn’t bring herself to choose just one. With answers running the gamut from hand-drawn pictures to emotional pleas for others, the contest entries revealed the children’s thoughts on gifts that capture the true spirit of Christmas.

A boy named Matthew, for example, would share the gift of “enthusiasm.” Abigail would give “friendship and love,” while Caroline would give “joy” and Lauren “Memories!”

A girl named Cara said she would “do anything to help (her) friend Carl and his family through his heart transplant,” while Addison and Sophie shared a similarly personal gift:

“We would give our aunt, Caw, a book. She is fighting cancer and the book will remind her to keep moving forward. In the book, (we) would include positive thoughts and draw happy pictures.”

Goodall said she intends to reward every child who entered with a character in Frizzle’s next book, tentatively titled “Frizzle’s Holiday Treasures,” which she has planned for 2017’s holiday season.

“What’s so nice about this contest is that the answers – they’re so innocent and so pure,” she said. “When you ask kids things like this you really understand how … the commercialization of the season is the doing of the adults. For children, it’s so simple. It’s just the act of giving.”