New Children’s Book Inspires a Taoist Perspective
SUNSHINE COAST, B.C. – Using the adventures of a feisty goldfish, the new picture book Gracie’s Got a Secret encourages children to go with the flow and find their inner stillness, especially when they’re pushing for a result.
Roberts Creek author Heather Conn got the idea for the book, published by MW Books of Garden Bay, BC, while on her own journey of self-discovery in India. She thought that if children learned the concept of “letting go,” they could save themselves a lot of anguish as adults.
In the book, main character Gracie, a goldfish, gets out of her fishbowl and meets an alligator and an elephant, sharing her “secret” to help them solve their individual dilemmas. The book, Conn’s first for kids, is targeted at children ages seven to nine, but younger ones will also enjoy the delightful illustrations by Vancouver artist Lillian Lai.
This uplifting story, which comes with engaging questions to prompt discussion, invites children to believe in themselves, support others, and find peace in chaos. This perspective echoes the Taoist notion of wu wei or “action through inaction.” (Taoism is a philosophy that supports working in harmony with nature and life itself, rather than resisting people or events. It promotes compassion and moderation.)
Dennis Lee, author of the popular children’s book Alligator Pie, says of the book: “There’s a spunky energy in the writing that goes along with the central motif.”
(Editors: There’s a strong Sunshine Coast angle to this story. Several years ago, the author took a workshop on writing children’s books hosted by the Sunshine Coast School of Writing. She contacted children’s author Dennis Lee after seeing him at the Festival of the Written Arts in Sechelt. She met the publisher, who’s based on the Coast, at a literary reading in Gibsons, hosted by the local group Read Locally, Act Globally.)
The book is available at select bookstores, through amazon.com and from the author or publisher MW Books. For more information, see graciesgotasecret.com or contact the author, Heather Conn, at 604-886-6520 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
HEATHER CONN is a freelance writer/editor, blogger, writing instructor and coach, and communications consultant based in Roberts Creek, BC. Heather wrote for Bravo! TV and the CBC-TV children’s show Hopscotch in Vancouver and created a puppet teleplay for Take Part Productions in North Vancouver. She co-founded and co-facilitated a nature appreciation program for children called Oneness in the Wilderness.
A former columnist for Vancouver Parent magazine, Heather co-wrote the book Vancouver’s Glory Years (Whitecap Books 2003) while working as corporate communications manager at BC Transit. A former guest editor at The Local, she has written for 50+ magazines and newspapers in North America, including The Globe and Mail, The Vancouver Sun, The Edmonton Journal, Canadian Geographic, and The Greater Vancouver Book. See heatherconn.com for more details.
Gracie’s Got a Secret is the first children’s book for illustrator LILLIAN LAI of Vancouver. She works as an artist on social mobile games for Harmony Arcade and has worked in the animation industry on shows such as Rated A for Awesome. She has worked as a graphic artist and as a producer of short animation. Lillian has a certificate in 3D digital animation and a diploma in 2D commercial animation from Capilano University in North Vancouver.
* * * * *
UPCOMING RELATED EVENTS: Heather Conn will be selling Gracie’s Got a Secret and signing copies on Saturday, Oct. 22 at The Writers’ Hub event at The Gumboot Café in Roberts Creek, as part of the Sunshine Coast Arts Crawl. She’ll be available from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
OFFICIAL BOOK LAUNCH: Join author Heather Conn and local storyteller John Conway for a fun event, with puppets and nibblies, on Saturday, Nov. 26 at the Sunshine Coast Arts Centre in Sechelt. The reading, with a discussion afterwards, will run from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Admission is free. (On the same day, before the launch, Heather will be selling books all day at the Christmas Craft Fair at the Seaside Centre in Sechelt.)
Heather will also be selling books on Saturday, Nov. 19 at Sunnycrest Mall in front of Woods Showcase, as part of the Annual Sunshine Coast Artisan Craft Fair. Her appearance times are to be announced. Check with graciesgotasecret.com or become a Facebook friend of Gracie’s Got a Secret.
I have known Heater Conn for many years and am thrilled about her new children’s book. She is a great writer and author. I also like that it helps children with a more spiritual centered approach to life beyond the ego and doctrine.
What a perfect Christmas gift for the young person in your life!
It’s Always A Good Day on the Sunshine Coast! Duane Burnett