Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Peer Pressure

artwork by Sandra Casali LewAllen

Dear readers:

All of us have felt peer pressure at one time or another. No one wants to feel like he or she is on the outside looking in. In Olivia and the Little Way, Olivia is torn between wanting to fit in with her new friends and doing what she knows is the right thing. Here she is pictured on Halloween night with Hayley, one of the "cool" girls in the fifth grade. Olivia is dressed as a chef and Hayley is dressed as a rock star. Mrs. LewAllen does a great job capturing Olivia's concerned expression as she watches Hayley put on makeup to go with her costume. Olivia has found herself yet again in a moment of choice: she can do the right thing or the wrong thing. What she ultimately decides to do I won't share here, but it makes a big impact on her.

The next time, like Olivia, you are caught in a moment of choice between good and bad, always think of God and His ultimate plan for you. Does it fit in with His hopes and desires for you? If the answer is no, you know what to do...or not to do.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Talking About Olivia and St. Therese

Therese at age eight

Dear readers:
I have been having such a great time visiting Catholic schools and talking to kids about the life of the Little Flower.  I love sharing funny stories about her when she was a child and showcasing her great personality.  At the last school I visited, Sandy Casali LewAllen, the illustrator of Olivia and the Little Way, came with me and brought some of her original sketches to share with the students, which was fascinating to see.  She talked about the different types of media and how they can make a difference, depending on the type of story you are illustrating.

My favorite part?  Questions from kids just like you, who want to know more about Therese and also how Olivia came to follow her Little Way.  Just the other day, a fifth-grade boy came up to me and suggested a storyline for my next book.  And he had some really great ideas!

I sure hope I am inspiring some budding authors out there.  Therese, of course, was an author herself.  She wrote her autobiography, The Story of a Soul, while freezing in her cold cell in the convent.  This is a testament to her determination to inspire people everywhere, and to keep a positive attitude, no matter the circumstances.  A powerful lesson for all of us.

Write your thoughts down and see how far they can go!
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