But after my daughter Emlyn was born, my aunt handed me a copy of The Jillian Jiggs Treasury….
I had no idea how impactful this bright, funny, slick-rhyming series of books would be on my pint-sized bundle. When we started reading, she practically took flight. She wiggled. She squirmed. Her arms rotated like propellers on a helicopter. I couldn’t even get a still photograph—her hands were nothing but a blur.
And that’s when I knew that I wanted to write something to make her smile like that.
Celebrating the Diversity!
— In the little blue house with the weathervane loose,
— Emlyn lived with her Mummy, her Mama, and Moose.
— That big old Blue Dane was a chicken at night.
— He hid in his fort when they turned out the light!
Emlyn has two mums (yep, that’s how her family is packaged), and while this is an important part of the story—especially for alternative families looking to see themselves reflected honestly in literature—it’s not the main point.
The story—captivating and original—is the main point.
I think diversity in literature is incredibly important, not only for children growing up in alternative families, but for all members of society. Why? Because diversity is not a politically correct catch-phrase, it’s our reality. Families come in all shapes, sizes and backgrounds. Let’s have that represented on our library shelves.
The most important thing for me, though, was to write a fabulous children’s story—one that spotlighted the focus on the main kid character—her adventures, her quirks, her interests. A classic in the making….
Who’s Going to Love this Book?
Kids! And parents!
Emlyn and the Gremlin is a series with mass audience appeal.
Does your child enjoy fun rhythmic writing? A cast of quirky characters? A giant scaredy-cat dog? A sarcastic little Gremlin who tosses a grappling hook over the window ledge to sneak in and play with forbidden toys?
Then Emlyn and the Gremlin is for your family too.
Children’s picture books aren’t just about the kids— they must appeal to the adults reading aloud every night, too. Parents will enjoy reading Emlyn and the Gremlin as much as the kids. (They might even sneak in a quiet preview on their way home from the bookstore.)
I hope to see you all at book signings in July.
<3 Steff F. Kneff