I Dreamed a Dream

[Indie authors have an uphill battle getting their books noticed. Bloggers can make all the difference. One such amazing blogger is Sue Vincent. Sue hosted me on her blog and shared the following post with her readers; to visit her site, click the link at the bottom of this post.]

 

It was daylight.

I was alone on a dirt road that stretched as far as I could see.

There were no houses…no trees…

Just me.

I glided along the road.

I couldn’t see my hands, or anything that would identify me as me.

“Who am I?” I wondered.

What did I look like?

What colour was I?

I didn’t know.

I tried guessing—I thought I was probably a deep brown.

But I wasn’t sure.

All I knew was that whatever I looked like,

I was me.

I dreamed that twenty-five years ago.

I had recently been introduced to the concept of Unity in Diversity, the understanding that although people were diverse, with different skin colours, different languages and ways of doing things, humanity was one.

The dream unseated my unconscious identity of myself as a woman with white skin. In the dream, I was just me. None of the cultural packaging of what being “white,” or “brown,” or “black” meant had any reality.

My picture book, The Nightingale’s Song, sprang from that dream.

It starts out,

“Last night, I had a dream,

That my skin was brown, like mahogany,

My outside had changed,

But my inside was ME,

And a nightingale sang from the nearby tree…”

The Nightingale’s Song is about the beauty of humanity, about how our diversity is a strength. Children reading this book see themselves in its pages, and see themselves as beautiful, as they are. 

It was published in 2018, but shortly thereafter the publisher closed its doors. In its short time out, it won silver in the Nautilus Book Awards as a book that promotes peace.

I am getting this book back out there. I am running a Kickstarter campaign through Kickstarter Canada, entitled, “Changing the World, One Child at a Time,” to fund its reprint.

As the nightingale sings in The Nightingale’s Song

“Brothers and sisters we shall be,

Stars of one sky, leaves of one tree.”

That dream changed me forever, and by its inspiration, I hope to be part of the change toward a world in which every human being is cherished.

Join me.

Visit my Kickstarter campaign, Changing the World, One Child at a Time, to back this project, and be a part of the change to make the world a place fit for children.

 

Guest author: Andrea Torrey Balsara ~ I Dreamed a Dream   

 

My Kickstarter Campaign is LIVE

It isn’t every day that I launch a Kickstarter campaign. In fact, this is new to me, and SLIGHTLY out of my comfort zone. Okay, a LOT out of my comfort zone! But Unity in Diversity is an issue I care deeply about.

I care about it enough to get a little uncomfortable.

What IS Unity in Diversity, anyway?

It’s the awareness that we are all ONE. Just as there are flowers of different colours, shapes, and sizes in a flower garden, there are people who are different colours, shapes, and sizes (and ages!) in our human family.

We would never say that only red roses are allowed in a garden, as pretty as they are. Or white daisies. Or orange marigolds…you get the idea. If flower gardens are more beautiful because of their variety of colours, scents, shapes, and sizes, why is humanity any different?

Hint: It isn’t.

Diversity is a strength. Diversity means that where I am weak, your strength bolsters me up, and where you are weak, I can be strong. We can be strong together. Every people, every person, every child, is unique, precious, and beautiful.

The Nightingale’s Song brings that message of hope to children. Please support my kickstarter campaign, and be part of a worldwide shift toward UNITY.

Click here: http://kck.st/2nVNg34

 

The Nightingale’s Song–2018 Nautilus Book Awards Silver Winner

I am pleased to announce that The Nightingale’s Song has won SILVER in the Nautilus Book Awards (past Nautilus Book Award winners include Deepak Chopra, Barbara Kingsolver, Thich Nhat Hanh, Marianne Williamson, and Eckhart Tolle, to name a few).

This book has been years in the making. Evolving from original pastel drawings, to being finished digitally, the art work shows the beauty of diversity in our human family.

There is a movement afoot that casts people into groups of “US” and “THEM.” I say, and I’ll shout it from the mountain tops (or write a picture book about it) that THERE IS ONLY US.

We are ALL part of ONE human family.

MORE and MORE people around the world know this is true.

Just as a flower garden delights the senses with its varieties of flowers, colours, and scents, so the human family is powerful, beautiful, and magnificent BECAUSE of its diversity.

Unity Rocks!

2018 Nautilus Book Awards Winner “Better Books for a Better World”

#UnityInDiversity #ChooseLove #WeAreOne

 

 

A Little Help From My Friends

Sometimes, we just need a friend. We need someone who gets us, who nods and says, “Yup. Been there, done that.” Or, “You’ve got this.” Or, “It gets better.”

Our new dog Rocky spent his first two years in a crate that was locked in a dark shed. He’s known freedom, sunlight, and grass under his feet, for 6 short weeks. His only previous contact with life was the old woman who fed him, who for whatever reason, waited two years to call for help. Rocky has no idea how to be a dog. He is as thin as a rabbit, and as timid as one.

Rocky

Our other two dogs, Oliver and Maisie, are also puppy mill rescues, but they were more fortunate. They were rescued much earlier, and have had each other, and the company of other dogs on their forays to the dog park, for many years. When Rocky arrived five days ago, frightened, clueless as to the ways of dogs, they looked puzzled, but not alarmed. After a day, Rocky started to settle in, studying his two mentors for clues as to how to be a dog. (So far, he’s been taught to bark at squirrels, taught to run around the yard and play, and taught to lounge in the sun. Not bad for five days of lessons.)

Rocky with Big Ollie
A lounger in the sun

Rocky has a long way to go. He will need months of gentle rehabilitation, of learning to trust. But I see a glimmer in his eyes that wasn’t there when he first came to us. And the blanket of sadness that he carried, is starting to lift, just a little.

Rocky with new friend Maisie

We all need friends, unconditional love, and a quiet acceptance that we are okay.

Rocky will be okay.

The Blind One Who Sees

In my book, The Great & the Small, the old blind rat, Balthazar, cries out for the rat colony to seek truth. As in fiction, those who stand up for truth in real life face grave risks.

We don’t want to see. We cling to our mythologies, our reasons why we can’t be whatever we secretly dream of, and most of all, we resist change. We resist change to the point that change-makers, those daredevils who scoff at the status quo, take their lives in their hands. Or paws. Depending upon species.

Balthazar reaches a level of heroism I can only aspire to—after all, isn’t that what writers do? We explore our own dark corners and wonder what could be? But heroism isn’t just for characters in a book. It is for us. Each one of us.

Every day that we take an extra second before pronouncing judgement that something is “good,” or something is “bad,” we take a step toward heroism. Every time we truly look into someone’s eyes, whatever their species, and try to understand, we step forward. Whenever we listen to the words of those who supposedly know, and question…we inch closer.

Time is short. And knowing this, perhaps we can take that stand, listen harder, look deeper, and seek truth.

 

The Great & the Small…AWARD WINNER!

The Great & the Small has won high honors in the 2018 Literary Classics Book Awards, winning the ELOQUENT QUILL Award! It also won GOLDS in the “Upper Middle-Grade” and “Epic” categories. The Great & the Small has won several silver medals in 2018, but this is its first gold! I’m very excited, and very honored!

              

 

This book has been, and continues to be, a “heart” project for me, one that I had to write, if I ever wanted to get a good night’s sleep again! An author never knows if anyone else will connect with their book, and it is gratifying to know that this book resonates with so many people!

-Andrea