The end of the year seems to be the perfect time to reflect, evaluate, celebrate, show gratitude and move forward in a positive direction.
I would love to take this opportunity to thank those who have supported me throughout my writing career this year. If you are reading this – then you are one of those people!!! I am forever grateful to everyone who have made my journey that much easier by liking or commenting on my page, sharing my content, purchasing my book and recommending it to others, and leaving such amazing reviews on Amazon, Fishpond and Goodreads!
2019 was an stand out year for me professionally, as this was my debut year as a picture book author! I hadn’t returned fully to the classroom since taking maternity leave with my second child 6 years ago, and have been juggling the work-from-home writer, relief teacher and stay-at-home Mum ever since.
After alot of work behind the scenes, in February 2019, I was so ecstatic to finally release my first book, The Strongest Boy
Some highlights of this included:
- Maggie Dent endorsing The Strongest Boy and sharing a review on her Facebook Page.
- The selling out of books on my website and then subsequently deciding to hand the distribution and shipping over to Amazon, Fishpond and other online retailers.
- Making the top Amazon 100 Best Sellers list for Boys and Men category.
- Being surrounded by friends, family as well as complete strangers at both my book launches on the Sunshine Coast and in my home-town of Hervey Bay.
- Being overwhelmed with personal messages from teachers and parents just to tell me how much their children loved reading The Strongest Boy and how helpful it has been as resource for positive behaviour.
- Watching the faces of children of the Sunshine Coast light up when I read to them on a kindergarten visit.
Despite these amazing achievements, I was also met with some criticisms. The most common ones I encountered were:
- What would a female know about redefining masculinity?
- Why don’t you write about the imperfections of women?
- There is no such thing as toxic masculinity – how would you like it if we used the term toxic femininity?
I haven’t taken these criticisms personally, however, they have been enough for me to reflect upon my own core values and beliefs which has led to changing my language in advertising to be more inclusive and positive. You may have noticed that I no longer describe The Strongest Boy as addressing the powerful topic of ‘toxic masculinity’. While I still believe that toxic masculinity exists (as I do toxic femininity), using that term doesn’t align with my philosophies on social inclusion and inclusive language. So for this reason, I am also grateful to my critics who have helped me to grow both personally and professionally.
Moving forward to 2020…
In 2020, I am excited to announce that my second picture book, Rosie Leads the Way will be here in February!! The advanced copies should arrive in the first week of January and they will be available for pre-order not long after that!
Rosie Leads the Way challenges the reader into re-defining what it means to be beautiful by having a smart mind, strong body and a beautiful heart. I hope to spread this message to children in their formative years before their exposure to social media and help parents change their current definition of beautiful, the language that they choose to use and the way in which they treat themselves and others
We now live in a society that tells our girls that they need to be beautiful, perfect and socially submissive. With the rise in social media use, online bullying and teenage mental health problems; there is a global epidemic facing our young girls!
“After talking with her Mum, Rosie believes she is the most beautiful girl in the whole entire world – but the day she met Penelope Pennington she wasn’t so sure.
Penelope Pennington had the perfect hair, the perfect clothes, the perfect shoes and even the perfect cat!
So, when Rosie and Penelope unexpectedly walk home together, they both make some meaningful discoveries along the way. Was Penelope really that perfect? How does Rosie manage to overcome her self-doubt to lead the way?”
What else in 2020…
As my children grow older, I look forward to taking on more clients this year for freelance writing work. Keep an eye out on my Facebook page for more articles on parenting, child development and special education topics. Click here to read some of my published articles from throughout the year.
I also have a few more ‘work in progress’ childrens books that I’m still fine tuning!
I look forward to connecting with you in 2020!
Children’s Author, Freelance Writer + Educational Consultant
Renee is a children’s author based on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland. She is passionate about creating profound social change by providing children, teachers and parents with the positive language needed for healthy social and emotional development. She is the author of picture books, The Strongest Boy, and Rosie Leads the Way.
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