Three local authors debut children’s books

Three different positive messages offer something for everyone

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There’s A Day Out There

Beautifully illustrated, “There’s a Day Out There,” by Sharon Goldman aims at taking children’s attention away from television, iPads and video games and toward exploring the outside. Goldman, a professional artist who also teaches private art classes for children, said she wrote the book to help encourage nature and outdoor discovery in a world that is leaning toward personal disengagement and technology overreliance.

“There has been a lot of parents tell me their kids are saying, 'Let's go back outside!' Goldman said. “This is a great way for them to connect with their parents and friends rather than electronic devices.”

Along with encouraging going outside, the book also helps children and adults interact with each other. The book’s call-out writing engages children to actively participate with the story. In addition, the soft cover features an activity workbook for children wanting to color the pages or learn more facts about the great outdoors.

More than anything, however, the book’s lush and colorful illustrations bring the outside in. Wet birds shaking off droplets of dew and dandelions losing wispy seed pods in the breeze make the world as beautiful as it is inviting. Page by page, “There’s a Day Out There” captures nature as seen through a child’s eyes exploring it for the first time.

My Pancreas Needs Glasses

Challenging readers to uncover the meaning behind the curious title, “My Pancreas Needs Glasses,” this book also teaches children how to ask questions and open dialogue with people who have disabilities. Author and Illustrator, Rhonda Goodall was inspired to write the book from her own experience raising her son, Julian, who is diabetic.

“When the kids were very young, they were always so curious about why Julian had to have shots every day,” Goodall said. “Although we talked to them at the beginning of the school year, (Julian and I both), they didn’t completely understand. I really started realizing how important it is that kids know that they’re going to meet many people throughout their lives that will be a little different from them--whether it’s Diabetes or a food allergy.”

The book takes the reader through a day with Julian and his brother, Zach. Over the course of the day the brothers walk around the neighborhood meeting and interacting with all kinds of people with a range of different disabilities. Heart conditions, thyroid issues and even people with missing limbs are encountered. Together they learn that Julian isn’t really that different, saying that just as someone might need glasses for their eyes, Julian’s pancreas needed insulin to work. “Everyone has a story,” Zach tells his parents.

Goodell said, “The book teaches a child not facing the condition themselves stop to think about being sensitive and kind to others that are, that may feel singled out because they’re feeling different. It also helps the child dealing with the medical issue gain some self-confidence because as they go through the book, they realize that everybody’s got something to deal with.”

Wake Up Ponte Vedra

Perfect for those living, moving or even vacationing in Ponte Vedra Beach, “Wake Up Ponte Vedra” explores the beach, The Ponte Vedra Inn & Club and the story of the community.

Author Brian Small said he was inspired to write the book after going to the library with his young daughter and not finding any books about the area. He took it upon himself to create not only a book for his daughter, but a homage to his town.

“Our daughter wanted to read a book about where she lived,” Small said. “It did not exist, so we worked for a year to create it.”

Small worked with illustrator Ginger Neilson to bring Ponte Vedra to life. Hidden in the lush beaches and golden sand, Small was also inspired by a loved one whose favorite place in the world was the Ponte Vedra Inn & Club. A small, yellow butterfly memorializes Small’s dedication to them.

In addition, Small just loves his town.

“It’s a place that we are proud to call home,” Small said. “We absolutely love Ponte Vedra and wanted to share its story.”

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