Being a military family means we’re not living near either set of my child’s grandparents. And at times it means Daddy is also away and my little man is missing his loved ones. It’s hard to explain to a 3-year-old (or even younger) why his favorite people are not around all the time, and it is even harder to help them through their big emotions (and tantrums they lead to).
But teaching a child to bond with far-away relatives with the help of a sweet children’s book is a great parenting tip. I received a complimentary electronic copy of Nonni’s Moon to enjoy and share with you.
Nooni’s Moon is such a sweet book and a great way to show little ones that a loved one is always thinking about them, even across the distance. First of all, I love the concept of the moon, since my child LOVES the moon. The story has a child and grandmother across time zones, where one is waking up, the other is going to bed. So they came up with a sweet way to send a message of love to each other, through the moon.
The illustrations are just lovely and the concept is beautiful. Allowing a small child to embrace a connection with far away relatives through a special game is very powerful and helps build the child’s self-esteem and emotional regulation.
I would love to get my hands on a print of this book to more easily read and enjoy with my son.
Enjoy the book trailer here:
Interview with Author:
What inspired you to publish Nonni’s Moon?
My mother actually inspired me. She’s our Nonni, and one day we were talking on the phone and she said, “I was really missing you the other night. Then I looked up and saw the moon and realized that you see the exact same moon.” I didn’t know it at the time, but the seed was planted. A little while later, after mulling it over, I decided to write out a draft. I dropped the kids off at nursery school and went to the little public beach behind the school. I sat in my car and wrote out the first, very rough, draft of Nonni’s Moon.
We’re expats and have been living overseas for the last ten years. We know all too well the sadness of missing loved ones who live far away. But it’s also true for military families and families who had to move away due to jobs or housing or opportunities. Very few of us get to live close to our loved ones any more. Moving is something many families have to deal with throughout their lives. And therefore, missing friends and family is also something families have to deal with.
Tell us a little about your path to publication – how did you manage to bring this book to life?
Well, like most people I did not consider self-publishing at first. I had heard it was hard to get traditionally published, but I started looking into that first. But as I collected my research and realized the process, and verified just how incredibly difficult it could be, I found myself thinking more and more about self-publishing. I felt really strongly that this was a story that could resonate with lots of people. So, I dove into it.
I did a lot of things wrong in the beginning and wasted some time. What I hadn’t realized was that I needed to look at this as an investment. It’s incredibly easy to self-publish a book. But if you want to publish a quality book, that’s well-written with beautiful illustrations and high-quality printing, then you need to invest in it – time and money.
Once I had it professionally edited, I then worked on finding an illustrator. I found mine through a Facebook group and she was such a perfect fit. I’m so grateful for Lucy and how she brought Nonni’s Moon to life. We’re actually working on two more books together as well.
Would you recommend self-publishing to others?
Absolutely. If you have a story to tell that’s burning inside you, let it out.
There are different avenues you can take in self-publishing. If you have a family story that you want to share with friends and family and maybe a few others, then you can do it for very little money. It makes a great gift and everyone would appreciate it. You can do this easily through Createspace (an Amazon company) and publish a paperback book in very little time. Write the text, get your kids or someone to do the illustrations, upload it and you’re done.
If you want to produce a book that can stand spine-to-spine against traditionally published children’s books, then you need to do a little more. First, do some research and read a lot of children’s books. Note the words they use, the number of words they use, how many pages it is (it’s often 32 pages), how the layout is, how many illustrations are there and what style would you want for yours.
Once your text is written, have others read it. Read it aloud – most kids books are read aloud, so this is a great way to test it. Then pay to get it professionally edited. Next, find an illustrator who you can work with. I loved handing Nonni’s Moon off to Lucy and seeing what she created. I’d comment on a few things, but for the most part, the illustrations are her visions of the story. And while all this is happening, decide whether you want to go with a print-on-demand company, like IngramSpark, or go with a printer and then sell them yourself. There are pros and cons of either option.
Bottom line, it’s doable.
Where and when can people get Nonni’s Moon?
For now, Nonni’s Moon is only available on Amazon. The Kindle version will be out June 12, and is only $2.99 for pre-sales. The hardback and paperback options are also available for pre-sales will be out around July 31st.
Also, I have free coloring pages from Nonni’s Moon you can get just by subscribing to www.juliainserro.com. My newsletters are monthly and you can be the first to know about the next books coming out.
Can you share some parenting tips to help children experiencing big emotions when missing a family member?
This is tough and each kid is different. Some can bounce back and look forward to new adventures, others have difficulty with that. You have to know your kids and know which way they lean. Some parents I know create photo books so they can see friends and family whenever they want. Some set up regular Skype or FaceTime calls so they can have that visual connection. Sometimes writing letters, notes or postcards helps.
I find my kids love seeing photos of their friends and cousins on Facebook. Then they want to send some back. We have one friend who sends us little videos just saying hi. If they’re really sad about it, then we call immediately (depending on the time zone), even just to say “we miss you.” I also make sure that my kids know I miss people, too. They see me cry when we say goodbye to Nonni at the airport, but then I talk about how we can talk to her soon and will see her at Christmas, etc.
There isn’t an easy answer. But like much of parenting, it’s an opportunity to teach a life lesson. And sometimes that lesson is simply that it’s okay to feel sad; now let’s look at the same moon they see and marvel at the world.
You might also be interested in this new app I just learned about:
New and improved app for military parents and families makes dealing with separations easier
Babies on the Homefront is a newly improved app designed to make deployments and time apart a little easier and less stressful for everyone in the family, especially your little ones! Send emojis, play games, share photos and videos, and securely stay connected as a family with fun activities and play ideas. The app even has resources for parents—learn more about your child’s development and find information and tips for self-care. Available in English and Spanish, Babies on the Homefront is the one-stop parenting app for active military and veteran families. Download it today!
We love reading books about family for toddlers. We also love to collect children’s books about moving away from friends.
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