In December of 2013, My Big Brother Bobby was self published and released by new author, Rebecca Dauer , illustrated by AnnieZimanski. I have known Rebecca since I was little, so I was eager to get a hand on a copy of her first children’s book.My Big Brother Bobby isn’t your typical children’s book. It is more like a communication bridge between parents, social workers, OTs, psychologists and children who are dealing with emotional issues within the home, specifically those living with siblings with angry outbursts.
After reading the story, sharing it with my children, watching and listening to their responses, I reached out to Rebecca to see if she would participate in a little Q and A session.
OTMommy: When I read this story to my youngest son, he really related to the main character, the little girl. My eldest related to Bobby, with embarrassment. The story hits close to home. What was the inspiration of this story?
R.D: I had the idea to write a book since I was a little girl but never knew how to go about writing it. My inspiration was from the countless stories from friends and family who told me about a sibling, an uncle, or a mother with stories of a "monster". I searched for children's books on this topic and couldn't find any. I felt morally responsible to give siblings going through tough times a voice.
A few months ago, I was sitting on the subway on my way to work and the idea hit me and I started writing. My goal is to help children that are so often unheard. My Big Brother Bobby provides an outlet for siblings to be heard and understood as well as for the parents to have a better understanding as to how their children might interpret experiences differently.
The book also provides a different perspective to the family member with the outburst. As a child you see, feel, and interpret emotions differently. It's important to see the experience from each child's point of view. The first person narrative provides perspective on what the child might go through during these times. As embarrassing as it might be to the child with the outburst, it is important for growth and understanding. The story came from the heart and I hope it is apparent throughout the book.
OTMommy: How did your family and friends feel about you writing this?
R.D.: My friends were extremely supportive and helped me every step of the way. The book wouldn't have been as great if it wasn't for them. I have a few friends and family members in the field who were able to give me advice on wording and calm down plan. T
OTMommy: I noticed this story is done in the first person. What was the reason behind not naming the little girl?
R.D.: I wanted to let the reader be able to identify with the character and I felt that not naming her would give more power to the story.
OTMommy: I really love the bonus features that give children and adults a way to bridge a communication gap. It was very emotional listening to my children answer them honestly. What made you put in the discussion questions, calm down plan and the identifying feelings pages?
R.D.: My good friend, Jennifer Zimmer works with children with autism. After she read the manuscript she suggested adding the calm down plan. It is a great addition to the book.
I added the identifying feelings and questions at the end of the book to help identify feelings and open up conversation to parents to what their kids might be holding in. If you provide the examples for children, they are more inclined to show and explain how they feel.
OTMommy: What do you hope others to gain from this book?
R.D.: I hope to reach as many children as possible. Send copies to schools, hospitals, and programs across the US. My hope is for children to relate to the characters and know that they are not alone and there are resources available to them. I hope this book provides an outlet for conversation and understanding for all parties involved (as tough as it might be).
OTMommy: Have you considered writing any more books?
R.D.: It was a lot of fun, start to finish. I enjoyed learning the process and working with so many talented people. I wouldn't have been able to do it without Amy Betz, the Editor and Annie Zimanski who's beautifully warm illustrations brought my words to life. I would definitely consider writing another book in the future.
My Big Brother Bobby is a wonderful resource for parents and those working with children to help kids communicate their feelings about being around someone with a “monster in their belly”. It is available through Amazon for $8.99. You can also visit http://www.mybigbrotherbobby.com to discover more about the author, Rebecca Dauer.