A Sweet Passover by Lesléa Newman and illustrated by David Slonim ($16.95, Abrams Book for Young…
Words of Encouragement by Marla McKenna
Hearing positive words of encouragement every day is something that each child needs in his or her life. And doing it through the power of stories and tying that into the thrilling game of baseball makes it even more fulfilling as children grow both physically and mentally.
I’ve always loved baseball and writing, so combining the two has been extremely exciting! It was a family outing at a major league baseball game that sparked the birth of Mom’s Big Catch, which also inspired the follow up book Sadie’s Big Steal. This fun and unexpected event (I can’t give away the surprise) changed my life. It’s the crazy way a ball is caught, and what baseball fan doesn’t want to catch a ball at a game? It’s really the dream of every fan! Years later when I decided to tell the story, getting the actual book published felt like going into many extra innings. It was a long and winding road and reaching the destination was not easy. After two years, rejection spurred doubts in my mind of trying to get Mom’s Big Catch even noticed. It wasn’t until a publishing contract was offered to me that I felt I could finally share my positive message with kids in a very unique way!
Telling the stories in my books came easily but that backstory was even more inspiring and prompted the message of patience, positivity and perseverance. Not giving up was a must in order to achieve success. It’s important to teach this lesson to children…if you really want something important in life, you have to go for it and follow your dreams; not letting anything stop you from pursuing your passion. Children also need to learn that anything that’s worthwhile requires a lot of hard work. This is a message that I share with children grades K – 5 when I visit schools, along with learning about the writing, publishing, editing and illustrating process.
The students love to see how a book comes to life, and they love to hear how when you truly give everything toward following your dreams and helping others, that’s when the magic happens. Never did I imagine, I’d be working with major and minor league baseball teams or that my favorite rock star, Rick Springfield, would support my cause! Never did I imagine, these books would touch the lives of so many children and baseball fans of all ages, and those fans would be asking for the next book. And to be able to give back to help our furry friends find loving forever homes is something that I love doing. When you set your heart and soul on your purpose…doors begin to open where you didn’t even see a window.
Dreams really can come true!
My books offer positive messages—told through the eyes of a little girl and the voice of their family dog—about following your dreams and teaching kindness. Partial proceeds from both books go to the Linda Blair WorldHeart Foundation. Their mission is to ensure that every dog they rescue receives a loving forever home. (LindaBlairWorldHeart.org) Special thanks to singer, actor, and best-selling author, Rick Springfield for matching my donations.
“Sadie’s Big Steal is another great story from Marla. It has a personal touch for me with the addition of my sweet lost pal Gomer immortalized in ink. A great story and a great cause. XOXO” – Rick Springfield
As an avid dog lover, I felt The Linda Blair WorldHeart Foundation was an easy choice for me to give back to. And as a Rick Springfield fan, this journey has come full circle for me with his support. Baseball, dogs and Rock ‘n’ Roll – three passions of mine that I get to combine with my love of writing and sharing that positive message with children. I don’t think it gets any better than that!
SADIE’S BIG STEAL by Marla McKenna
(Tate Publishing; $10.99 Paperback, Ages 4+)
This is also an eLIVE title, meaning each book contains a code redeemable for a free audio book version from TatePublishing.com. eLIVE—Listen, Imagine, View, and Experience.