Recently, I had the undeniable pleasure of having dinner with a rock star. No acoustic guitar or thumping drums here, this star is Julia Cook, a former teacher and school guidance counselor, who now rocks kids’ worlds. More specifically, she is an award-winning children’s book author, parenting expert, and favored inspirational keynote speaker.
Julia takes current research and translates it into fluent “kid speak.” She has an unerring ear and is totally attuned to her young audience, who frequently say, “You wrote this book about me.” Doesn’t that just make you melt? A struggling young one reads one of her books and finds total resonance.
What I love about Julia and her books is that she clearly loves kids and wants to help them to be the best and happiest they can be. There is no judgment or tone in her books. Julia speaks to her young audience in a straightforward, easy way. She deals with tough issues with practicality. She teaches kids how to problem-solve and how to make the best of some not-so-easy situations. She gives kids coping mechanisms, and parents, too. In the back of some of Julia’s books, there are even parent and teacher guides.
We all want our kids to be happy with a strong sense of self and an ability to cope, but when life does life Julia Cook’s writing creates alchemy. When Julia read Blueloon about depression and The Ant Hill Disaster to me, I became teary-eyed with the way she handled the subject matter and the way she offered help. To me, she is an invaluable resource.
When Julia visited one school, the students had decorated their classroom doors with their favorite Cook title – and they are many to choose from as Julia has written, to date, over 63 children’s books and sold over million copies of her books world-wide. She has, understandably, been called a modern-day Dr. Seuss.
A mother tells the story that she was in the park with her son, who noticed an unusual lone man on a park bench. The son says to his mom that the man fits the profile of what Julia had just taught his class about staying safe and avoiding abduction. The mom and son return to the park the next day and the man is in the exact same place. Now, the mom takes note and decides to call the police and voice her concern. It turns out the man had been released from prison a few days earlier; he had been incarcerated for child abduction.
In another school auditorium, one little boy stood up and told Julia that he always hated to read, but since he has read one of her books, he plans to read them all. This little guy will be very busy; here are just a few of Julia Cook’s titles:
- A Bad Case of Tattle Tongue
- Bully Beans
- Norma Jean the Worry Machine
- Cliques Just Don’t Make Cents
- The Tease Monster
- The Ant Hill Disaster
- Grief is Like a Snowflake
- Smarter than the Scoopers
- The D Word
- The Blue Loon
- Making Friends is an Art
- Peer Pressure Cooker
- The CAN in Cancer
- The Kid Trapper
You can learn more about Julia and her work at www.juliacookonline.com.
P.S. Over dinner, Julia read to me from her handwritten notebook one of her newest and yet-to-be-published, a book on test anxiety. Given the pressures of testing on kids in today’s world, I have no doubt that this will book be another resonant one for school kids everywhere.