I recently interviewed Children’s author Laura St. John, who is on a mission to spread kindness by teaching children to accept themselves and accept other children who may be different.
Laura is a wife and mom, and she works with children who have been abused and removed from their homes. She’s the author of two popular children’s books, Don’t Judge a Bug By Its Cover, and The Christmas House.
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Laura why did you start writing children’s books?
LSJ – I wrote the manuscript for both of my first two books over 15 years ago and have tweaked them along the way. I saw a need for a book about not judging people by how they look. I was trying to shape
young minds to become more aware of these issues as adults. Years ago, I was a copywriter at a few ad agencies and also wrote commercials for radio. Writing a few books was just another avenue to express my interpretation of the world and try to make a difference.
Did you read to your children when they were younger?
LSJ – Yes, every night! I missed out on being read to. My dad died when I was five and my mom was pretty busy with three kids, getting her degree, working and taking care of the home.
I made sure and read to my children at bedtime.
How have your children influenced your writing?
LSJ – The bug book was partially due to my own experiences of the past. There was some bullying along the way, and some insecurity came with that which took a while to overcome. The teen image was very important for my kid’s generation – sometimes too important. Magazine images and the media created certain body type guidelines as to how we all are supposed to look. And with that, feel about our bodies.
What is the main theme or purpose of Don’t Judge a Bug By Its Cover?
LSJ – These days the news is filled with school shootings, bullying, and body shaming. Children feel so much pressure to fit in, look like models, and to be popular. The main message of Don’t Judge a Bug By Its Cover is to accept others not based on their looks but who they are as humans. To look beyond the exterior features and learn to see the beauty and specialness in every person.
What ages is the book for?
LSJ – I wrote it for kids preschool to elementary age with the hope that I can help them understand the principles of accepting others at an early age.
I want children to learn to accept others and make friends based on how they act as humans, not the physical or visual aspects. Also, to help friends in need and realize that even pretty people can be very lonely. Some of us think that if people are famous or pretty that they have tons of friends and support. But really loneliness can fall onto anyone no matter how you look or what you have.
What are some things parents can do to help their kids accept themselves and have positive self-esteem?
LSJ – Here are four simple things parents can do to help their children accept themselves and others:
1. Say something positive to your children every day to let them know they are awesome just the way they are.
2. NEVER say anything derogatory about another person. Children see their parents being prejudiced or hear them say insensitive things and they repeat what they’ve seen and heard.
3. NEVER treat someone who is different differently than you treat anyone else.
4. ALWAYS be kind and respectful.
Autographed copies are available at http://booksbylaura.com