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Muza Ulasowski, my wonderful collaborator, has created a fabulous FB page for our picture book, “The Sea Cat Dreams”! Muza’s wonderfully life like illustrations have perfectly captured the story in a way I could never have envisaged! She has truly captured the story’s essence! Here are some samples:
The story is about coping with life impacting change something that can happen planned [as in a house move] or completely unplanned [as with a natural disaster, accident, death etc]. Coping with change, as child/family psychologists and counselors all say, is something that has a profound impact, especially on the young. As with grief, adults are often too preoccupied with the change and its ramifications to be able to take in how the children, who are being impacted by change, are managing or not managing in the new setting/situation.
The cat in the story moves, accidently, from one environment & family on a farm, to another very different one, aboard a fishing boat. He is then impacted further by the loss of a master he has come to love. But this is not the end. He moves through his life’s dramatic changes; firstly, by grieving, something we need to encourage each other and especially children, to do. He then reaches out to, shares with and cares for others also affected by loss, in this case, the fisherman’s widow. He gradually accepts his new life situation, not for a moment forgetting what has happened, but treasuring the wonderful memories he has.
The process of grieving must be acknowledged and the grieving child/adult be allowed to express their grief or sense of loss at the change in their lives and encouraged to do so. Let them talk, let them share as much as they need to. Highlight the constructive aspects, positive elements, e.g, wonderful memories of a dead friend, relative or pet. If the impacting change has involved a move – be it to a different school, to another suburb, another state, another country – encourage the keeping of contacts where possible, assist with the making of new contacts and the sharing of the process of moving and resettling, especially any humorous incidents.
The hope in writing this book, was to help children talk about their own stories of life changing events and to recognise, that whilst change is not always pleasant, we can become stronger for it and be better able to reach out and empathise with others experiencing its many faceted impact on their own lives.
Reviews and recommendations:
The Sea Cat Dreams is a beautifully written and illustrated book for children. In today’s world with so many young people facing loss and change, this important resource supports a child’s journey through grief and separation.
I am adding it as a good resource in my new book, the third edition of “Life and Loss”.
Author, Children Also Grieve, Life and Loss
Fellow in Thanantology: Death, Dying, and Bereavement (FT), MS degree Counseling, Master’s Equivalency in early childhood education, LCPC and NBCC. She worked as a teacher and counselor in the school system for almost twenty years.
I’ve just lost a dear friend to cancer and I felt refreshed after reading the Sea Cat’s Dreams story.
I found myself identifying with the Sea Cat in the story and this metaphor provided a comforting space from the painful loss, but it also normalized it. Like the cat’s life, our life is often interrupted by hurtful events. Through the cat’s eyes I witnessed my sorrow and of those around me but in the midst of it all there is a safe, calm place on our heart’s sill where we know we shall be well, allowing the sorrow to run its course while cherishing the memories.
I would definitely use it with my clients, young and old.
Youla Overbey, MA, LLPC
Behavioral Health Counselor at Catholic Charities West Michigan; Professional Counselor at Muskegon Counseling & Educational Services
The Sea Cat Dreams is the latest bibliotherapy book penned by JR Poulter. The story, recounted in beautiful poetic form, centres around the life transitions of a cat and the devastating loss it has to bear, rendering it a very versatile bibliotherapy tool which can be used with children who have experienced different types of life transitions including change and loss in different dimensions. The slogan for the book is “Coping with change…” and this is an apt choice as change is paradoxically the constant in the cat’s life resulting in losses borne on lots of levels. The losses associated with the first transition in the cat’s life pale into insignificance compared to the devastating loss associated with the second and this bears out the author’s sensitivity to different losses having different impacts. The contrast is rendered starker by the positivity of the first transition in the cat’s life and this also shows awareness on the author’s part that not all life changes are unsettling. These observations lend further testimony to the nature of the author’s outlook on life which is both realistic and positive and shines through her work. Poulter focuses on coping with change and all its ramifications. She highlights the relational aspect of coping with bereavement in caring for and comforting one another and gives prominence to the importance of memories and fantasy in coping with changes and loss. The book is illustrated by Muza Ulasowski with delightful romantic imagery in hues that evoke comfort and warmth, blending seamlessly with the overarching theme of resilience in the face of tragedy. The Sea Cat Dreams is a book I would wholeheartedly recommend.
Claire Casha is a psychology graduate with over ten years’ experience of family therapy work. She is currently working as a research officer and reading for a Master in Family Studies at the University of Malta.
Preview and purchase: http://utales.com/books/the-sea-cat-dreams
Watch this site – http://writersandauthors.blogspot.com/2010/06/w-writing-contest-coming-soon.html
While you are there, have a peek at the interview – http://writersandauthors.blogspot.com/search?q=Poulter Check out the links too, including one to a FREE press release posting site!
The interview features info on my new book, coming out with PicPocket Books on iphone in August. It was created in collaboration with Monica Rondino, Andrea Pucci and my youngest daughter, Estelle Poulter. Parents and others – do you have teething babies or toddlers who bite and have older siblings who object to being bitten? You might just find some help to be had reading this humorous story with a rhyming element!
Children’s books on ipad and iphone
Thought I’d share some notes on e-publishing, especially with all the excitement generated by ipad. I have two picture books coming out myself on iphone and am looking forward to having picture books on ipad!
Most of the iphone publishers pay better [some much better] royalties than book publishers.
Though the RRP cost of books is low, volume of sales is high compared to hard copy books.
Folk buying an e-book for iphone often buy the hardcopy too if the child likes the book.
If you are publishing with an iphone company who works with the big publishers or with big children’s media companies, then it potentially brings your work to the attention of some important networks/people. It puts you book into good company!
Starts with costing you the author.
There is a setup fee or the set up cost is taken out of your royalties.
You have to make your own audio and ensure it is of ‘professional’ quality or pay to have the iphone publisher produce it for you. American iphone book producers like to use American accents [sorry Aussies].
If they format the text into the images for you that is a cost as well.
You have to submit the completed book upfront [not such a hassle for the author/illustrator] as a pdf. For author working with illustrator it means either you pay the illustrator upfront or they work with you with royalties in mind. If it is accepted you may find you have to then submit each frame [individual jpeg image] resized to iphone format . This can mean force sizing, which can distort the image slightly. If you do not do this yourself, there is a cost for them to do it.
Like all publishers, they are selective.
I have books soon to come out with PicPocket Books and istorytime. [See my website for updates www.jenniferrpoulter.weebly.com ] For a preview of “Toofs!”, to come out with PicPocket Books, see the interview with Susan Whitfield [http://susanwhitfield.blogspot.com/search?q=Poulter ].
Good format for b&w and has growing audience.
Is all the buzz – is touted as new direction in children’s publishing [most recently at CAL seminar in Brisbane recently]. Not seen as replacing hard copy but as important new outlet.
Penguin are already there, are going for interactive stories on ipad. Exciting! [see UTube and http://www.engadget.com/…/penguins-ipad-formatted-books-shown-off-making- waves/ ] All the same pluses for iphone also apply here and more.
Same companies doing iphone are now doing ipad as well so the cost structure may still apply – may change too as ipad is much more flexible than iphone and is beautifully suited to picbooks. Because of this, there may not [note may not] be the same need for audio.
If your book is already in hardcopy, it is ‘free’ [yep that’s right] to load your book onto Ripple Reader and free to join the company. Ripple Reader pays royalties! It is an exciting innovation that makes your published book accessible much, much more widely.
Your book must exist in a published version first, so that the editing process it has gone through ensures production quality.
Latest SCBWI Newsletter [March/April 2010] page 22 – article by Elizabeth O. Dulemba titled, “My 1st iPhone Picture Book App”. Elizabeth was published with a company called Rhodesoft.com [“Reading Rhino”]. I don’t know as much about them, but they do also require a set up fee.