Somewhere to review books I'm reading without giving away any spoilers!
I am very happy to welcome Donald Lloyd Jr,
author of The Adventures of Monkey and Toad: Two Remarkable Friends
here today and to share with you his Guest Post.
Read on to discover more about him, his inspirational 2020 and
a chance to read again my 5* review for his children’s book!
We are in unprecedented times! I do not believe that there is a person on this planet that would disagree with that statement. In times like these we find out a lot about ourselves and those around us. My year did not start off the greatest. In January I lost my job and began my unemployment journey. Little did I know that a few short months later 2020 would change and put the majority of us in the same boat? For me the question now became “how do I help provide for my family from home when everyone else is doing the same?” My answer, write a children’s book!
I have long enjoyed art and the majority of the creative arts were not in my purview given where I grew up. My hometown was not large, it was isolated from a lot of other towns and creative arts were not as valued as sports. I know, it sounds like every other town right now! Despite all of this I continued drawing and writing and pushing me to be more exposed to things like the theater, written word, media for drawing or painting. What I came away with was a new view of a world full of colors and people that I never knew existed. My world was no longer the black and white world of a child but a world with grays, blues, purples and every other color imaginable or not yet imagined. My eyes were opening wider than ever before!
Now this new appreciation for the world came at a cost. Since the world is all about balance I found out that with all of the good I started to see I became increasingly more aware of the bad. I once heard a quote that made me stop and think, “He who increases knowledge increases sorrow.” While I believe this to be true I do not make it a point to live my life this way. Moreover I do not raise my kids this way. I believe in exposing my kids to all sorts of things both good and bad. I do not believe in sheltering them completely because if they are to become stewards of the world we need to show them the world they will inherit good and bad. It saddens me to see everything going on during a time when we should all be banding together to help each other through this time. When do we get back to being “we” instead of “me?”
I have tried to teach my kids to be unselfish when it comes to others. If they see someone in trouble they help. If they see someone in need they offer theirs. If they see suffering they try to heal. Please understand that we are in no way great at everything we do but we recognize our weaknesses, embrace them and try to turn them into strengths.
My strength lately has come from my latest endeavor: becoming a children’s book author and illustrator. I have been struggling with how to begin for years now and one day, at the beginning of the pandemic, my wife told me to go for it and make it happen! I am so glad I listened to her and I am not sure why I doubted her even for a nanosecond! It has been a wonderful experience that truly is like no other. I was finally able to draw like I had always wanted to; I was able to write as I have always wanted to; I was able to spend the time with my kids that I had been missing for the last decade. Why did it take me so long to get here? One word: FEAR!
Fear keeps us from doing what we love because it has been so ingrained that we need to succeed. Failure will not be tolerated! I truly have learned from my failures more than I have from my successes. Failures led me to this path and I am so grateful to every one for pushing me to what I was meant to be: a children’s author and illustrator.
Now instead of spending my days making someone else happy and making them money while I broke my back and saw little to no gain I am my own boss and I love it! The community of children’s book writers is some of the best people I know. They understand that it is not about the “me” but the “we.” I have received so much help, advice and pointing in the right direction that it has been overwhelming. I believe that if the world were run more like a children’s book we would all be so much better off. Who wants to live in a world where unicorns don’t exist? Who wants to live in a world where dragons don’t like hot foods? Who wants to live in a world where our differences are criticized instead of accepted? Not I and I am betting not you! Our creativity is what makes us special and I for one would like to see that encouraged in school.
How many of you have told your kids to go draw or write what is in their hearts and they come back a few minutes later with a blank look on their face and say “I don’t know what to draw/write!” I feel we have become a world of people telling us what to do and immediate gratification and we have lost our ability to play, imagine and create. I love to see books from kids that have been written and/or illustrated by them because it gives me hope. Hope that in the future we humans will still know how to be creative outside of someone else telling us how to be! I long for the days when kids run up to their parents with a picture they drew of a purple and yellow polka dotted toad named Filip and the parents smile and encourage them to create a story instead of telling them what is “wrong” and making them fix it. The more we let go, the more we let ourselves be silly and encourage fun the better off we will be as a planet. That is my ultimate goal for my kids and my career. How about you?
Thank you so much for this, Donald, I have to say I have to agree with so much of what you say – especially concerning fear of failure holding people back from daring to try and schools becoming so prescriptive in their need to achieve specific content knowledge, targets and standards that creativity can easily be lost in the process, to the detriment of everyone involved.
Originally from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and a professional Landscape Designer by trade, children’s author Donald Lloyd Jr. has spent the last decade watching his children grow and learn life’s lessons. His debut book, The Adventures of Monkey and Toad: Two Remarkable Friends, explores accepting differences and what it is like to make a new friend. Donald currently lives in Maryland with his family.
Title: The Adventures of Monkey and Toad: Two Remarkable Friends
Author: Donald Lloyd Jr
Publisher: Halo Publishing International
Published: July 28th, 2020
I was gifted access to an online copy of this book
And am so glad I chose to take a good look!
It is a picture book with an adventure that’s fun
With an important message for each and everyone.
This story two great characters, who
Seem to be opposites in all that they do.
Just look at them both and think what they are –
Toad finds the idea of being friends quite bizarre
Until they give it a go and then they both find
It’s more about what you do and if you are kind
They have adventures together and in the end
Become the very best you can be – real friends!
A friend can be different in shape, look and size,
Something we all need to realise.
This story is well told with a message so true –
It isn’t what you look like but more what you do.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again,
Doesn’t matter who, where or when,
Children’s illustrated stories, told in rhyme,
Are winners for me, almost every time!
This book is a great story for sharing
One to help encourage even more caring
Don’t judge others on their looks, but by what they do
So you can find a true friend to have adventures with, too.
Ever wanted to make a new friend but were not sure how? Have you ever met someone and instantly knew that you would be friends? “The Adventures of Monkey and Toad: Two Remarkable Friends” is a story about finding a friend, learning how to be a friend and realizing that a true friend can be anyone from anywhere!