7 Year Old Writes, Illustrates and Publishes Her Very Own Book: Look Behind You

My 7 year old daughter sold out of 100 copies of her first book in a day and a half!

This project was one that had been in the works for years, we just didn’t have Candice Alexander around to make it happen. It all started when Hannah, my author child, started telling stories when she was learning to talk. It was all over when she began reading. She averages about 2 books a day, AR tests and everything. I joke with the library teacher at E.D.S. about how Hannah eats books, because I end up having to pay for the casualties. She will read it, leave it and forget it (we are working on that)!

Her love for reading sparked an even bigger imagination in her. So, as I would write my journals entries, scribe for the magazines that I have worked for or simply free write for fun, she would copy. Last year she created her first written and illustrated story. We folded up some card stock and let her get to it. The story was about a glittery princess and some sort of goblins. We brought it to school and that too…. must have been eaten! It never returned home. Her teachers loved it but due to the goblins, they couldn’t share it at school. She wrote another one called The Mysterious Book. It was great! However, she had stayed at Nonna’s house the night before. Apparently the ID CHANNEL mysteries were playing in the background TV, because that story had mysteries of people just disappearing. Anyway, that was a cute one.

However, the latest one Look Behind You came about when Candice convinced her to write one that we could share with everyone. So, Hannah sat and worked for a few hours in Candice’s studio while the adults packed for a big show.IMG_E5811

She had the content and the illustrations done in a day and a half. Candice got to work after that! A few days later we had books in our hand ready to be sold at the Three Rivers Festival in Covington. When we sold out of 20 in an hour, Hannah was ready to share more!

Preparing for the Mistletoe and Moss Festival, Candice outsourced to Knights Media Inc for a quick turn around of 100 books. And bam! She published. In good ole Candice fashion, she outfits an extra piece of furniture she had in her booth with a Banner, a book rack and Christmas lights for Hannah’s Mini Book Booth at Mistletoe and Moss in Lake Charles.IMG_5920

Now we are ready for the show. Friday night I brought Hannah after school to start selling. Within a few hours she had sold a quarter of her work. It was getting a little late, so we packed up and headed to the loft. Saturday, she woke up early and went to work with Candice. When I showed up, she was on her break, watching the cutest play at the festival. Then we were able to take pictures with the Disney Characters and SANTA!! YAY!! IMG_5892

As we approached Santa, Gabe asked one of the Elves if he was on the Nice list and she immediately said yes! I told her she hadn’t checked it yet today, because we just aren’t sure if his whining will keep him on the nice list all day. Anyway, we saw school friends, played a bit and then went back to work.

Gabe acted as her assistant when she would want to go for a break. He would keep selling and even sign her name on the back for everyone. I just cannot tell you how funny that really was. She told me he was her manager, and I about fell over. He shows real potential though, so he’s definitely got a permanent spot on the team. After noon I shipped Gabe off to Nonna so Hannah could get back to sharing her work.

She did a great job! One of the cutest things during all of the transactions was when a child wanted a book and the mother would make him/her pay for it with their own money. So they did a real life business exchange as toddlers. That to me is a great way to build practical understanding of the world and to teach the value of working and earning. That’s my biggest take away from this show.

The lessons we teach our children are preparation for the adult life they will live. The marketplace holds many many valuable lessons.

Moving on, around 3pm, she was spent. She was ready to go. I told her we could stand right out of the booth and try to sell the last 4 books quickly and she just took off handing them out all through the show. I had to reign her in real fast. On that journey though, we ran into a childhood mentor of mine. She was my neighbor and the mother of one of my best friends growing up. She used to buy me crafts and let me and her daughter write Newspapers for the Neighbors and hand them out with us. She was great. She bought Hannah’s book and my heart melted. I love when my children get to connect with the people that mean so much to me. IMG_5917

After that book dumping fiasco, we made it back to Candice’s booth and sold the last two to some great friends! I met some loyal Buffi’s patrons, bought some great trinkets from the vendors and we headed out! As she was bouncing out of the door, she was so excited that she sold all 100 copies!

Now the goal is to teach about savings, cost of goods, giving back and being wise in spending the money. I am almost certain that these memories will set my children up for a full life, regardless of what they choose to do in the future.

After all that hard work, I have had time to decompress, and I just have to say how appreciative I am of the life I am living right now.

There have been so many times that I have walked away from good things because I thought there was something better out there for me and my children. I have given up comfort for the vision I had for our future.

I never settled and I am so glad I didn’t. Candice Alexander is a light in our lives and we add just as much value to hers. She has absorbed our interests, added her twist and pulled us into this amazing life with her. I cannot wait to share the inspiration she brings to me in another journal entry.

All in all, Mistletoe and Moss treated us well. I am so grateful to live in a town with such hard working individuals like the ladies in The Junior League. It’s such a great feeling to be supported by your community, especially when the support is for your children. So, I just have to say I am so grateful for everyone who bought Hannah’s book. I hope it brings as much satisfaction to other readers as it does to me. Keep the creativity alive, keep striving and always do whatever you have to in order to live life on your own terms.