Title: Being You is Enough and other important stuff
Author: Josh Langley
Illustrator: Josh Langley
Publisher: Big Sky Publishing
Genre: Illustrated Kids Book
Age Group: 6 to 11
Please tell us a bit of what your book is about.
It’s a very different kid’s book, taking the groundbreaking form of a positive affirmation book filled with messages about life we all want our kids to grow up with. There are plenty of amazing picture / story books for kids, but to have one with simple positive statements coupled with quirky illustrations is something very different and that’s what makes the book stand out. The kids love my childlike illustrations!
What kinds of themes / issues are raised in this story?
Where do I start? Self esteem, resilience and helping kids feel comfortable in their own skin. Being You is Enough tackles concepts such as ‘it’s Ok to be different’, No one is perfect, We all make mistakes, the power of daydreaming, resilience and understanding that we’re in charge of our emotions.
How are these important to you in raising awareness to your readers?
With society as crazy as it is these days and parents flat out just trying to earn a living, bring up a family and try and stay sane, some of the core messages about life often get forgotten and lost in the tangled world of social media, peer pressure, societal expectation and the race to ‘be the best’. I wanted to help parents by creating a book that they could share with their kids about what really is important about life. It’s not about iPads, stressful cooking shows and winning awards it’s about understanding who you are on the inside, that we’re perfect just the way we are and that we are all loved.
Who or what inspired you to write this story?
I’ve been writing about happiness and the meaning of life for a while now, but mainly for adults and I wanted to share some of my insights with kids so they can maybe grow up a little bit more well adjusted than some of us adults! I would have loved to have given the book to my 7 year old self to let him know that he was just fine the way he was.
What is your favourite part of the book?
I would have to say the ‘even cool kids have to poo’ page because it was based on something I heard German philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche, say once. “Do not be intimidated by anyone, even Kings and Queens have to defecate”. I may have seriously misquoted him, but it was the idea that interested me. I now use it to help kids understand that we are all really the same, even the so called bullies. It’s not often you get to sneak in philosophy into a kids book and low and behold it everyone’s favourite page! There’s also a secret recipe for Tortellini with Lemon and Parsley sauce!
How would you describe the publishing process? Were they supportive? How long did it take?
Coming from a media and advertising background, I love the newness and the adventure of the publishing process, it’s so completely different to what I’m used to. I had great support from my project managers at Big Sky Publishing and I also consulted widely with my teacher friends, parents and especially kids. It took about 5 months to write from start to finish and it took several attempts at getting the over all theme of the book just right but it seems we’ve hit on a winning formula. I’ve nearly finished the follow up book with the working title of ‘It’s OK to Feel How You Do’.
What was the collaboration like between author and illustrator? Juicy gossip, please!
We slept together! Ok, we’re the same person so that’s OK!
What has the feedback / audience response been like so far?
I’ve had Mums and grandparents saying they’ve cried while reading the book to their kids. They get to the last section where it says ‘you are loved’ and feel it’s something they wish they had been told when they were a kid. It really strikes a deep chord with them. The kids themselves are adopting the book as their ‘new best friend’ with some keeping it under their pillow and one 8 year book took it all over Europe with him when the family went on holiday! I’m constantly getting people contact me saying how much a book like this is needed in this day and age and that it’s making such a different in their kid’s life.
What teaching and learning ideas would you suggest to complement this book?
The book is excellent for starting bigger and deeper discussions with kids. Each section (11 in total) can be read in one quick session and you can discuss whatever it raises for the child.
I tour primary schools with the Being You is Enough message and I find that the kids are so eager to have a bigger conversation about all the topics and some of their insights are amazing. Our kids are much smarter than we think they are!
Do you have a book trailer for your book?
Please let us know where we can find more on you and your book.
Being You is Enough website: www.frogandthewell.com
Josh Langley’s website: www.joshlangley.com.au
Thank you for sharing your story with us! 🙂
After failing high school twice and spending a ridiculous amount of time being unemployed, Josh went onto create a successful career as an award winning radio creative writer spanning 20 years. However it was his insatiable thirst to find the meaning to life and death and the insights he received that led to the publishing of 3 illustrated books about happiness and two nonfiction Bill Brysonesque travelogues of his adventures to find evidence of the afterlife.
Josh lives on 7 and a half acres in the South West of Western Australia with his partner and a bunch of neurotic chickens.