Alisha Gaddis Launches Little Maven Books With Red Sky
This fall, children growing up in modern, blended families will see themselves in a new book from a new imprint in children's publishing. Headed up by publisher Alisha Gaddis, She Loves Me All the Same is the first in a planned collection of titles for and about preschool-aged children whose families don't necessarily fit the traditional mold.
The story, written by Gaddis and illustrated by Spanish artist Mireaia Mirante, is based on Gaddis' personal experience as a step-parent. "When I became a stepmom, I did a lot of research to help me figure out what I was doing. There is a lot of material out there for parents, and some children's books about divorce, but I couldn't find anything to help children navigate the family dynamics of having a new person enter their young lives," says Gaddis. "So, I tried to write a story from the child's perspective, and not to shy away from the stresses as well as the good things about having a mom and a stepmom. Most of all, the book is just about being a kid."
She Loves Me All The Same follows a little girl named Zoey who loves to make lemonade, practice yoga, and dress up for outings with her new stepmom Miranda. She has two homes - one with her mom, and one with her dad and stepmom. It's mostly fun (she has pets in each place), but sometimes she's embarrassed when Miranda sings in the shower, and other times she feels guilty when she's having fun with her new parent. Even though her life is "different," and Miranda is not her mom, Zoey knows "she loves me all the same." In the end, both families come together for a birthday celebration.
"Blended families are the new norm -- this is not a niche topic anymore," notes Gaddis. "And it's important to acknowledge how kids feel about the new family arrangements. I love the resurgence of beautiful books for children dealing with a spectrum of social-emotional topics. We want She Loves Me All the Same to be relatable for young children who have new stepparents." While an inter-married family may at times post difficult situations and responses, Gaddis says it's important to acknowledge that even small people have complex emotions that need to be expressed. "The more we let these feelings come out, the more well-rounded and happy a child and the whole family will be."
Indeed, the guiding mission of Little Maven Books will be inclusiveness and diversity. By normalizing what may not seem normal, these stories will be taken from or speak to real-life experiences and emotions. Stories might involve protagonists with disabilities or something else that makes them unique. "I grew up with a special needs brother, and my life was shaped by that," Gaddis explains. "We want to see all kids represented in the pages of our books."
Micky Hyman, publisher and CEO at Red Sky Presents, says, "We are thrilled and excited to have Alisha and Little Maven Books join our catalog of distinguished authors. The Little Maven imprint will provide quality and timely books to underrepresented segments of the children's genre."
Author-publisher Alisha Gaddis is based in Los Angeles and Columbus, Indiana. She is an actor and author, and tours internationally with the Latin Grammy and Emmy winning touring group, The Lucky Band. Her new book is based on her life: "Some of the things in the story really happened in our family. We really did have a day when we dressed up in our fanciest outifts and went to a library event. I really do sing opera (and Broadway tunes) in the shower. My stepdaughter (now age 15) would get embarrassed by some of these things but now relishes them. I also have a 3 year old now. I refer to them both as 'my kids. Because simply, they are.'"
She Loves Me All The Same will be available on October 18, 2019. For more information, visit www.littlemavenbooks.com..