The treasured story of Harriet and the Little French Doll has been passed down from my grandmother Harriet to my mother Shirley and finally to me. The events in the story, which take place over three Christmases, really happened to my grandmother when she was a young girl in the early 1900s.
In 1944, she typed the story, drew and painted illustrations for it, and handmade her own little book, complete with a cloth cover, and gave it to her daughter Shirley for her seventh birthday. Today, I’m proud to be the current keeper of the original book. The first half of the story introduces readers to all eighteen members of Harriet’s doll family (she loved dolls!), and the second half features the very special little French doll.
With an eye toward making the story available to others, I decided to recreate it using Amazon’s Kindle Kids’ Book Creator. I designed the book in Microsoft Publisher, with some minor text edits, and the addition of a foreword and an About the Author page. I included all of the original art, which I had snapped photos of and transferred to my computer. Surprisingly, the art required very little touching up. Then I converted the document to PDF and uploaded it into the Kids’ Book Creator, which saved it as a file on my computer.
After that, I opened Kindle Direct Publishing and followed the instructions to complete the book. This was my first time using Kindle Direct Publishing and I discovered there is a bit of a learning curve. But I sorted everything out, and now I’m pleased to report that a Kindle version and a paperback version of Harriet and the Little French Doll are now available on Amazon.
My grandmother was a special person. She lived with my family since before I was born and helped to raise my five siblings and me. I have many fond memories of time spent with Gramma. And I remember, too, that she was always writing, either with typewriter or pen.
She was very talented, both artistically and as an author. She was a self-taught poet who wrote her first poem at the age of 11. She went on to write hundreds of poems over her lifetime. Many appeared regularly in magazines and newspapers, including Ideals, which, to this day, often still publishes her poetry in its special Christmas issue. I know without a doubt that I inherited the writer’s gene from her.
My purpose for recreating my grandmother’s story, Harriet and the Little French Doll, is to share a tiny bit of her life and talent with the world.
Title: The Santa Corner
Author: Jakie Rodriguez
Illustrator: Bee L. Hannah
Publisher/Year: Mascot Books/2016
Back Cover Blurb: Santa is afraid he will not have enough presents to deliver to all the boys and girls, so he is asking for help. He is sending out letters asking children to collect toys they no longer play with. Gracie and Meghyn are ready to help, are you?
When Meghyn visits her friend Gracie’s house, she wonders why there’s a pile of toys in the corner and why she can’t play with them. Gracie tells her that the toys are in the Santa corner. Toys in the Santa corner are toys that kids no longer play with. Santa sends his helpers to pick them up in the middle of the night. They take the toys back to the North Pole, and they repair them too, if necessary. On Christmas Eve, Santa delivers the toys to children all over the world. Meghyn is excited to go home and start a Santa corner of her own.
I know it’s not Christmas, but what’s special about The Santa Corner is that it teaches kids, through a delightful story and sweet illustrations, to be generous and giving–qualities that can be encouraged anytime. And what young child wouldn’t want to help Santa if given the chance? Parents who want to cultivate a giving nature in their children, while at the same time, clear away the clutter of too many toys, will find the message of this book to be just what they need to succeed. Though not expressly stated in the text, parents might want to discuss with their kids how putting their toys in the Santa corner helps not only Santa, but also children who are less fortunate than they are. Creating a Santa corner is an excellent way to help others, and it can be started now.
I like to help others too. I often donate money or clothing to the Syracuse Rescue Mission, a local organization that’s working hard to end hunger and homelessness in our community. I donate to animal welfare organizations as well. And I’ve donated copies of my book The Peddler’s Bed to libraries and literacy organizations. There are MANY wonderful causes out there. I’m sure, just like Meghyn and Gracie in The Santa Corner, kids everywhere want to help others. Find a great cause that you and your children can support together.
Thank you Terry Doherty at The Reading Tub for the lovely review of The Peddler’s Bed!
Click HERE to read the review.
To all of my friends, fans, and blog followers, I wish you a very Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and a New Year filled with an abundance of joy. May your dreams come true in 2017! 🙂
Share the joy of Christmas with your kids by reading picture books together. Here’s a look at some of the newest releases.
I love Christmas, so I am super excited to share a sleighful of wonderful Christmas picture books, newly available At The Library!
Title: The Night Before The Night Before Christmas
Author: Jay Dee
Illustrator: Darren Geers
Publisher/Year: Kraine Kreative/2014
Summary: At Santa’s workshop, the night before the night before Christmas is hardy a time to rest. The elves work tirelessly to get the final toys made before Christmas Eve, but Elfie just can’t keep pace. He spends too much time making his toys perfect, and when Santa comes to check on production, everyone is surprised by his reaction.
The Night Before The Night Before Christmas is a beautifully illustrated, timeless tale with a twist. It is the night before Christmas Eve and all of Santa’s elves are at work making the final toys for Santa to deliver to all the good girls and boys the very next night. Main character Elfie is a likable little fellow who takes pride in his work. And he wants the toys he makes to be perfect. His perfectionism is something many of us can relate to; I sure can. But unfortunately for Elfie, this is no time to be perfect. Or is it?
My favorite part of the story, besides the spectacular full-page illustrations, is that Santa himself knows the reason for the season, or put another way, Santa knows the true meaning of Christmas and who and what it is that makes Christmas special. You have to be open to what I call a “time paradox” (the twist) at the end of the story, if you are, I’m confident that you and your children will embrace the feel-good message presented here. Overall, The Night Before The Night Before Christmas is a sweet story about a very special Christmas gift.
I am giving away a copy of The Night Before The Night Before Christmas, generously donated by the author, to one lucky person. To qualify for the giveaway, you must 1) follow this blog and 2) comment on this post. I will choose a winner at random, who I will contact via e-mail for a mailing address. Sorry, this giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. You have until December 7, 2014 to qualify.
Please share this review and giveaway on social media. Thank you!
Update (12/8/2014): Congratulations to Linda Kautzman, the winner of The Night Before The Night Before Christmas! Thank you to everyone who entered and commented on this post. Look for more chances to win picture books in the future!
Title: The North Pole Penguin
Author: Christopher Payne
Illustrator: Lorena Soriano
Now that Halloween is over, my thoughts have turned to Christmas. It’s less than two months away after all. I’m already thinking about the decorating, shopping, and visiting that make up part of the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. You may be too. But are you also thinking about Christmas books? If not, I have the perfect one to get you started: The North Pole Penguin.
This book has the potential to be a Christmastime classic. With its clever rhyme and bright, put-you-in-the-spirit illustrations, The North Pole Penguin begs to be read over and over again. The story is about Parker Preston, a penguin from the South Pole, who loves Christmas and longs to thank Santa Claus in person for stopping at his igloo every year. So he sets off for the North Pole with a gift for Santa and meets new animal friends along the way who also want to give gifts to Santa. Some even accompany him on his journey. Here’s a sample from the book:
Upon some thinking long and hard, he knew his Christmas cause
To cross the globe and go and see the man called Santa Claus.
He’d bring him gifts and change the roles before the winter’s thaws
To give back to the special man whose kindness had no flaws.
If you’re searching for a sweet Christmas story with amazing illustrations and the strong possibility of becoming a holiday tradition, The North Pole Penguin is a perfect choice.
Title: A Wish To Be A Christmas Tree
Author: Colleen Monroe
Illustrator: Michael Glenn Monroe
Publisher/Year: Sleeping Bear Press/2000
A Wish To Be A Christmas Tree is a gorgeously illustrated holiday picture book told in flawless rhyme. It is sweet, magical, and heartwarming. The story is about a sad evergreen tree that has watched year after year as the trees around him are chosen to be Christmas trees. He knows it’s too late for him because he has grown too big and tall. He is heartbroken because being a Christmas tree has always been his dream. In order to cheer him, the woodland creatures find a way to show him just how much he is appreciated. This book is just beautiful in so many ways. First, look at the wonderful cover image above. From the sparkling snow, to the glowing background, to the character in the tree’s face, this picture makes you want to open the book to see more. Even the title is in the shape of a tree. And if you open the book, you won’t be disappointed. My favorite illustration depicts songbirds perched in the tree’s branches. The picture accompanies wonderful text such as this: “The first morning sun brought a wondrous sight, as icicles glimmered and captured the light. Colorful birds perched all over the pine, as beautiful as bulbs and just as fine.” Love it! Besides being visually stunning and a joy to read, the story conveys a message of friendship and caring. A Wish To Be A Christmas Tree is a must read!