Tuesday, October 6, 2015


Whoa I know- two blog posts in one day- I'm probably blowing your mind. But this came up in a conversation earlier today with a friend and he encouraged me to share it. The conversation was about my audience for Boats for Papa. It's come up several times that there is some question about who the book works best for- children or adults. So here were my thoughts on the matter:

"I genuinely created this book with children in mind. I myself was basically Buckley, and I know there are many children out there who have absence in their life. I felt so different from others because my father wasn't there everyday. But my mother was-something I only began to realize and appreciate the depth of once I became an adult. So by sharing my story, I hoped to create something that would make a child connect to the content in some way-so that they would feel safe and loved and not alone. Absence takes so many shapes and means different things for everyone, and maybe some young children don't have personal experience with it, but knowing you have love still around you is something I feel that every child (and adult) can benefit from. And hopefully creates conversations about compassion for others who do have personal experience with it. So I hoped that even if absence isn't a connection for the reader, that love is.

The overwhelming byproduct of this book touching adults in an emotional way has been beautiful, but wasn't the motivation for the work. I honestly had no clue that adults would feel so strongly about it. I felt I had created something that was touching, and I hope that everyone who reads it at least understands its heart in some way, but adults weren't the target at all. I just got a letter from a friend who shared that he wished he had this book when he lost his father when he was 6. And so many others have shared they felt a level of personal healing from reading it and yes- these were adults. But another friend says every time they read the book and they get to the part when Buckley thanks his mama, he turns around and kisses her!  And I just read a Facebook post about a friend of a friend who's son "finally connected with a book about grief" and he asked her to read it twice and then he made a boat. I totally lost it. I understand that a child emotional depth is different than an adult-but something made him feel and connect when he read it. And that is what I am so humbled and honored to be apart of. Whether I'm helping the 6 year old in real life or the 6 year old inside an adult, I can't tell you how much that touches my soul."

And I will add that I didn't write the book expecting children to cry when they read it. I know that is more of an adult reaction to the story. 

Hopefully that can shed some extra light. I know though that art is only part what the creator intends and the rest is what the world feels from receiving it. I think that is an exciting and beautiful process and I welcome the discourse.


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