In three months, my next picture book, “The More You Give,” will be out in the world. I don’t have hard copies just yet, but have been relishing, on screen, the beautiful artwork created by Francesca Sanna. I can’t wait to hold this book in my hands!
Near the end of a book’s production phase, the author is asked to provide a dedication. My previous three books were all dedicated to my husband and kids. This is pretty common practice, but if you look across an author’s career, you’ll find dedications extending to a wider circle of influences, perhaps a former teacher, close friend, or the book’s editor or author’s agent.
When I thought about the messages in “The More You Give,” of kindness and empathy and a willingness to share our own personal gifts, regardless of what we might get in return, I thought immediately of my late friend, Dave Broehl. Those who had the pleasure of knowing Dave appreciated his upbeat personality, his HUGE hugs, and most of all, his tireless work helping those in need, especially children.
Dave was the most special (and lately, it seems, rather rare) type of leader who didn’t seek power and accolades. Rather, he empowered others to find their own voices and lead in their own ways. There are many people out there who are great cheerleaders, but with Dave, you knew he wouldn’t just sweep in, offer some encouragement, and leave. Dave knew that important, meaningful, work takes time, and he’d stand by you for as long as it took. Dave introduced me to people as “a children’s author” before I truly felt I could claim that title. He talked me up to others, and maybe most importantly of all, he talked me up to myself. No one could give a pep talk like Dave.
Dave passed away in the early days of COVID. I remember sitting at his memorial service, where his daughter talked about the saying, “the more you give, the more you get,” which is my book’s message. It was obvious to me at that moment, that of course I would dedicate the book to him. In “The More You Give,” several generations of people pass along their values of kindness, patience, and empathy, as well as their love of nature. They bring others along with them on their journey, planting trees and kindness, so that at the end, they have a beautiful family legacy, as well as a forest. I think Dave would have approved.
If you’re interested in learning more about the book, click here. There will be a public, in-person book launch at the Wayne County Public Library on August 6th. More information coming soon.