New children’s book released by Steamboat author Denise Wood Heil
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Day to day, the spectrum of emotions runs its course, and for kids, those ups and downs seem to be from another world.
To help kids navigate those feelings, Steamboat Springs author and mother of three Denise Wood Heil recently released her first book, “What Happened Today,” a self-published children’s book illustrated by Christy Bodily.
The book is colorful, whimsical and includes a hidden hedgehog throughout. This week, Explore Steamboat caught up with Wood Heil to find out what inspired her to write the book and what discoveries readers can expect to find on each page.
Explore Steamboat: How did the idea for this book emerge?
Denise Wood Heil: The idea emerged while I was raising my small children and the many emotions they go through. I remember my son used the word “frustrated,” because he couldn’t tie his shoe. It blew me away that he identified with the emotion.
I wanted to write the book to help children learn to recognize the many emotions they experience and have their parents help them navigate through those emotions with love and support. If a child has been embarrassed, the parent, while reading the book, can talk to their child about the ways that the child has felt embarrassed and possibly have the conversation on solutions or coping skills to being embarrassed.
ES: What is it that draws you to write?
DWH: I am drawn to write specifically children’s books because I think it might inspire young readers to be the best they can be. I was inspired by many things I read, and if I can do that for children and create something positive, that is what becomes rewarding.
ES: Can you remember back to the moment you knew you wanted to be an author? Was it a particular novel? An author you look up to?
DWH: My dad inspired me to write and re-write. He was a great writer. He encouraged my brother and I to write down our stories. I always had a goal to write a children’s book. It took me awhile to take the leap and get it published, but I’m glad I’ve accomplished that.
ES: Was there ever a moment where you hesitated to write this story because it is so raw, so personal?
DWH: Sure, sometimes it is difficult to write the most personal aspects of yourself. It takes a lot of courage to write and let it be seen by others. I sometimes doubt myself and am worried that people won’t like what I’ve written. My mission of inspiring at least one person is larger than the criticism. It is what has me overcome my doubt and drives me to open up.
ES: What do you hope your readers walk away with after reading “What Happened Today?”
DWH: With mental wellness on the forefront of so many communities, it is key to start teaching our children positive ways to handle their emotions and to know there is support out there.
The reader walks away knowing they are not alone with the many emotions that happen on a daily basis. They also walk away with a smile on their face having fun finding the hedgehog hidden on all the pages.
The book is currently available at Off the Beaten Path bookstore. It will also be available at the Home for the Holidays event from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at Bud Werner Memorial Library and at the annual Work of Human Hands Holiday Bazaar on Nov. 17 and the Holidays in the Rockies Artisan Market on Dec. 1.
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