“How can I choose to have less stuff when other people have so much stuff?” ponders 7-year-old Gracie as the story opens in How Can I Choose? Inspired by the contributions made to children’s literature by Theodor Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss, real estate agent and Westover Hills resident Robin Hurst felt called to make her debut on the Christian children’s book scene.
Written for children ages 5 to 8, Hurst’s How Can I Choose? book tells the story of inquisitive young Gracie who, with her canine companion Enuf in tow, ponders big questions.
“The number one focus is to engage parents and children in conversations with and about God,” Hurst says of the book. “To get them to ask ‘big’ questions about things like trust and comparison.”
The reception has been very positive thus far, she says, with the book recently making its way as far as the library of Oakwood School, an independent day school in Los Angeles. “Not to compare the two, but from the responses I’ve gotten, this book would be something like
Dr. Seuss’ Oh the Places You’ll Go!, because it speaks to children as well as older people.”
While the inspiration was planted immediately and the manuscript came soon afterward, the road to publication was not to be without hurdles. At first, Hurst says, she had trouble finding someone to illustrate the story. After reaching out to several illustrators without success, she prayed. “I said, ‘God, if it’s supposed to be, put the illustrator in front of me.’ ” Soon afterward, she found award-winning illustrator Rosemarie Gillen via the professional networking site LinkedIn. “I just Googled something different,” Hurst says, “and there she was.”
Gillen read Hurst’s manuscript and agreed to illustrate the book. Hopeful, yet hesitant, Hurst asked, ‘Well, how do I know you’ll get my vision right?’ ” Within an hour, Gillen sent Hurst an illustration of the main character, Gracie, who at that point was still without a name. “What she came up with,” Hurst says, “was what was in my mind, but better.”
While the book has made its way to the West Coast, it has yet to be included in the curriculum of any faith-based schools locally or elsewhere. “My dreams might be too big,” Hurst says, “but I think it may possibly be a good fit for home school groups.”
“I do plan to write more,” Hurst adds, noting she has “one or two” other books in the works, potentially for the middle school age group and still featuring the character of young Gracie. “I think Gracie will go on other adventures,” says Hurst, who also does inspirational speaking through her company Your Path Matters.
Hurst will be reading How Can I Choose? at Barnes & Noble in Libbie Place, 5501 W. Broad St., on Saturday (Feb. 21) from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., with a book signing afterward.