Today is the first time Self Published Sunday has featured a children's writer. Rhonda Paglia (Grandma Pags Stories) is the author of three children's stories. Today, she is sharing her work with us!
My name is Rhonda Paglia. I am a retired elementary teacher and grandmother of five from Hermitage, Pennsylvania. I’m known as “Grammy” to my grandchildren, my husband, Tony, is known as “Papa,” and our funny little Yorkie-Poo is known as Bella.
To date, I have self-published three children’s stories: The Little Lambs and the Very Special Mission, Doonsey’s Beach Adventure, the Great Rescue, and the companion, Doonsey’s Beach Adventure, the Great Rescue Coloring and Activity Book. My fourth book, about three little gnomes, is in progress and will be ready later this year.
In most of my “just for fun” stories, my grandchildren play leading roles. It’s quite interesting and sometimes funny to see their reaction, especially when “Grammy” uses her imagination and veers from reality. In one of my non-published stories, my 4-year-old grandson, Rowan becomes a pirate and he takes off on an adventure. Rowan’s comment when I read him the story was, “Grammy, that didn’t really happen!” I’m still laughing!
Because I’ve been writing for my family, it never crossed my mind to try and publish any of my work - until the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012. Twenty beautiful first graders were killed along with their 6 brave teachers.
The massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School was unspeakable and devastating. I grieved along with our nation and the rest of the world. As a retired teacher, I felt the pain on many levels. I started my teaching career as a first teacher many years ago. I loved teaching those darling little ones. Later in my career, we were required to practice lockdown drills with our students in case of emergencies. Lock the door, turn out the lights, hide the kids. The students were instructed on the urgency of staying silent during these drills. Scary!
As details of Sandy Hook emerged, I could visualize what those teachers must have done to try and save their students. I prayed constantly for the victims, their families, and for all of us.
It was during my prayers that an entire children’s story was given to me – start to finish with the moral that God loves us; He placed love in our hearts before we were born, but we have forgotten. If we choose to live the “Be Attitudes,” we can all help our world become a better place. I don’t know how to explain it, other than the story was “pressed” into me – it was given to me – I didn’t ask for it.
I was so touched by the images I received that I wept. Then I became very conflicted about putting the story to paper, and even more so about sharing it. One “voice” in me said, “You know, you should not get involved [in the Sandy Hook tragedy]. Don’t insert yourself.” The other “voice” said, “I gave you this story and you are to tell it.” So that is the voice I followed. All loss is difficult, especially one as tragic as Sandy Hook. This little story filled my heart; it gave me some peace and comfort, and offered hope.
I am not an artist and before I could publish my story, I needed help with the illustrations. I prayed again and God answered my prayers by sending me help in the form of a 14-year-old Kennedy Catholic Middle School student named Taylor Galaska. Taylor and I met by chance last February. When I explained my book project to him, he immediately said “yes” to helping with the illustrations. With Taylor’s help, I finished my little story. It was then that The Little Lambs and the Very Special Mission took wings and began its journey.
Synopsis of Little Lambs and the Very Special Mission: In this story, God asks a field full of sweet, playful little lambs to help Him with a very important mission. He tells them that the people of Earth have forgotten to be loving and kind to each other. God needs their help to remind the people of Earth how much He loves them. With the little lambs’ help, the world becomes a better place.
The Little Lambs and the Very Special Mission is dedicated to the children and staff of Sandy Hook Elementary School, in Newtown, Connecticut. Books were sent to all of the families through the Newtown School District. All the profits from the sale of the book go to the “Angels in Charge” Scholarship fund. This scholarship is awarded to a qualifying student from Newtown High School who plans to pursue a career in education. It’s a small way to give back and send some love up there from all of us. The first scholarship from book sales last May was $2500 and went to a wonderful Newtown High School graduating senior. She is now attending college in New Jersey and working toward a career in elementary education.
Illustrations from Little Lambs and the Very Special Mission:
The Little Lambs playing in the field.
The Lambs listening to the God who is asking for their help.
The Lambs going to Heaven escorted by the Angels in Charge.
Links to more information about “The Little Lambs and the Very Special Mission”
· The Sharon Herald Newspaper, April 7, 2013: http://www.sharonherald.com/local/x1319127155/On-a-mission
· The Sharon Herald Newspaper, December 15, 2013: http://www.sharonherald.com/local/x1005127203/-Little-Lambs-lead-teen-on-new-journey
· Link to interview by Rockin' Book Reviews, November 30, 2013 http://www.rockinbookreviews.com/2013/11/30/interview-with-rhonda-paglia-promotion-of-her-very-special-book-the-little-lambs-and-the-very-special-mission/
· An endorsement from “The American Institute of Health Care Professionals, Inc.” who recommended this children’s story for use in grief and bereavement counseling. The article can be seen at: http://www.aihcp.org/blog/rhonda-paglias-little-lambs-special-mission/
Other books by Rhonda Paglia:
I recently released a new children’s story titled, Doonsey’s Beach Adventure, the Great Rescue along with a companion activity and coloring book. In this story, Doonsey is a happy, friendly little crab who loves to explore. On this particular day, Doonsey decides to explore the beach. Half way through his quiet day, he suddenly finds himself scurrying off on a rescue mission. This sweet little crab becomes a hero and makes some very unusual, but very special new friends.
On the last few pages in this book, kids are encouraged to explore their own imaginations and create their own beach buddies.
The activity companion book, Doonsey’s Beach Adventure, the Great Rescue Coloring and Activity Book gives a brief summary of the Doonsey’s Beach Adventure with pages to color and some fun activities like matching, mazes, and counting. The kids also learn a little more about the beach buddies and there is additional space for the kids to use their imaginations.
Fun facts about myself:
· Although I’m a grandma of 5, I recently picked up the game of jacks again after not playing for almost 50 years. I am amazed at how much I remember!!
· When I was a child, I took dance lessons and was part of a group called “The Tiny Mites.” We were on TV several times and we tried out for the original Mickey Mouse Club, but we didn’t make it.
· My husband and I have a little Yorkie-Poo named Bella who does tricks. She can dance on her hind feet, roll over, and jump through the hoop! She will be in a future story titled “Bella’s Backyard!”
· The fourth children’s book that will be released to the public this year was actually written in 2009. The working title is Orion and the 3 Little Gnomes. Ratna Kusuma Halim is the illustrator and I can’t wait for everyone to see this sweet Little Gnomes book!!
· Grammy Pags Stories on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/grammypagsstories
· The Little Lambs and the Very Special Mission on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheLittleLambsAndTheVerySpecialMission
· For more information about The Little Lambs and the Very Special Mission: go to: https://sites.google.com/site/littlelambs20/
Contact information:firstname.lastname@example.org or message me on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/grammypagsstories
Several pages from Doonsey’s Beach Adventure, the Great Rescue & Doonsey’s Beach Adventure, the Great Rescue Coloring and Activity Book:
Pages 1 & 2 from the story, Doonsey’s Beach Adventure, the Great Rescue
Doonsey trying to figure out which direction he is going on his exploring day – [left pic from story, right pic from coloring book.]
Doonsey running after the birds – [Left – from story, middle - from coloring book].
3rd pic on right – matching page from the Doonsey Coloring Book