RI Authors - April Cox
April M. Cox is a children’s book author. Writing children’s books is as unique a task as can be - and dovetailing story and illustration is essential to appeal to your reader. They say that children can “see right through you”, and so it is with children’s books - children can tell if you are writing in a “commercial” way or if you are writing “from the heart”.
April certainly writes from the heart as her driving purpose is to make a difference in the lives of others. Discovering the joys of writing for children came when her own grandchildren came into her life. Finding that special book, with fabulous illustrations, was part of creating the bond between “grandma” and her little ones, and April remembers those special times shared curled up in a chair together with a favorite book or two.
“Cares melt away and I can feel the tension and stress melt away from their little bodies, too, as we cuddle up to read together,” says April.
Her first book, Puppy Pickup Day, is now a best seller on Amazon and has won multiple awards, including the Mom’s Choice Award (Gold). About a tiny Labradoodle Puppy, the runt of the litter, the puppy is insecure and has trouble keeping up with the other puppies. The story follows his journey from an insecure and unsure puppy, bullied by his own siblings to a more confident and accepting self.
Based on her own little Labradoodle, Brady, she also added in her family members, and grandchildren, too. She took the extra step to have a Literacy Guide created to provide teachers and homeschoolers with a lesson plan, which is also available to parents who want to dig further into the story.
April is Autism Awareness Month
April says, “In previous years it didn’t mean much to me that April was Autism Awareness Month, because there was no autism in my family and I never really understood the huge impact it has on the kids and their families. “This year is different. A young man named Jayden changed that for me. He has lifted my spirits and given me insights into Autism and peaked my curiosity to learn more and figure out how I can help.
It all started when I received a thank you note from Jayden’s Mom. Jayden had received the Puppy Pickup Day Companion Coloring Book and he loved it. She was excited to share with me that her son was coloring! It was a huge deal because Jayden has always struggled with fine motor skills. But he was working through it because he really identified with the story of The Little Labradoodle.
In the book, Puppy Pickup Day, the small puppy is clumsy, cannot catch balls and is excluded from play with his siblings because he was too small. Jayden couldn’t catch balls either or jump a rope and he knew what it was like to be excluded from play. Coloring and writing did not come easy for him, so he tried to avoid it at all cost.
I told his Mom that I had a contest going on and all he needed to do to enter was color one of the pages and send me a picture. What a great job he did! The encouragement was just what he needed. I sent along a hardcopy of the book and a little labradoodle plush. In the inscription I encouraged him to write a story. A few days later, this is the note I received from his mom, Diane” ‘Your previous letter to Jayden has made a big impact on him. I am attaching an artwork he did after he received your letter and it made me cry (happy tears). I tried for years to try to make him write and failed miserably. Just look at his work now, I see a major improvement. Thank you so much and God Bless!!’
This little boy has captured my heart and inspired me to learn more about Autism. I had the pleasure of talking with a few Moms of Autistic kids. There are so many different experiences for kids on the spectrum. What I heard most of all is that having a day or a month for Autism awareness is good, but it’s not enough. What they want most is for others to understand, acknowledge, include and embrace autistic kids. Many of them have difficulties in some areas and excel in others. They need to be challenged and accepted – even celebrated for who they are and what they can accomplish. Sometimes it takes a person outside the immediate family to speak words of encouragement or to challenge them with something new. The most important thing is to act with love, extend a hand in friendship and to teach our kids to do the same. I am so grateful to have my new pen pal and look forward to seeing him continue in his writing skills.
Who knows – maybe he will be a published author one day? Maybe even for Little Labradoodle Publishing!