A retired teacher from Adrian is launching a children’s picture book on grief to help children learn how to cope with the loss they are feeling.
“Always in Your Heart” is a tribute to Deb Wade’s late mother and is inspired by her granddaughters. Instilling a love of reading has always been Wade’s passion. With a degree in early childhood development from Siena Heights University, Wade taught Head Start, preschool, kindergarten and first grade in Adrian prior to retirement.
“This is my first children’s book. I’ve always wanted to write one. I love reading children’s books. The book began with my two granddaughters (Alex, 11, and Caroline, 6) because I lost my mom and my one granddaughter remembered my mom but the other one was too little. We talked about a lot of things that reminded us of her and we wrote them down. So I started writing a story for my girls and then my husband (Mike) said, ‘OK, I think you need to find a publisher.’ And the book evolved from being about my mom to a story that applied to all of us young and older, ”said Wade, who now lives in Omaha, Nebraska.
“Always in Your Heart” is a heartful story that pulls the reader in and walks them through a day-in-the-life after a hard loss.
“You wonder what life will be like when they are not there to hug and kiss you or tell you I love you. It’s a real tool for parents, children and other supportive adults around them to discuss the healing process you experience after suffering a loss. It will appeal to readers looking for support and the shoulder of a friend to lean on, ”Wade said.
Soon Wade found herself taking a writing class with an instructor who was a children’s picture book publisher. She began the book in the midst of the pandemic, and everything just fell in line for the book’s publication.
The instructor liked her work and they worked for a couple of months by videoconference. The publisher resides in Des Moines, Iowa. The publisher would suggest edits, and Wade was able to keep the original concept and story in place.
The publisher also found her an illustrator, who worked on the book for three to four months and came up with what Wade describes as a perfect representation of the printed word.
“Since it was COVID and we were home a lot, some weeks I would write and I would have lots of pages and of course a children’s book is very few words. So going through the whole editing process with a publisher was probably the hardest part because they allowed me to make my own choices but they would suggest things and I would be like, ‘Oh, gee, I did not think about doing that.’ So I would get a lot of ideas and then sometimes I would just let it sit for like three or four days and not even go back to it, “Wade said.” It would come down to one sentence and I would have to change something but I was not sure what. That was really interesting. At this stage in my life as a retired person, I really learned a lot about writing just from doing my own story, you know, what it took to put it all together. And some things changed. But in the end, the whole idea of the book basically stayed exactly how I wanted it to be. ”
The whole process from the first draft to the printed book took about a year, whereas many authors struggle for years without getting published.
“My purpose was to help as many children cope with the feeling that we call grief. So I hope it helps other children besides my granddaughters, “Wade said.” I call it a ‘hug book.’ It’s like when you get done, you might want to hug someone, or it just tells people what they can do to remember the person they lost. And I think there’s a need for things like that out there. ”
Wade is working on a new book with granddaughter Alex that’s about animals and fun things. She said she is taking it slow.
Wade and her family lived in Adrian for 28 years. An active local volunteer, she twice served as co-chair of the Lenawee County United Way campaign.
Readers can purchase the book locally at Sass Gift Shop in downtown Adrian, on Amazon and at Barnes & Noble. Readers can also purchase the book and learn more at: bibliokidpublishing.com. Contact the author at [email protected] or go to her website debwade.com.