I recently discovered a good friend of mine, Gina Jeffries, self-published a children’s picture book, titled, The Purple Poppy. And not only did she write the book, she illustrated it as well. So basically she’s a super talent! Excited and proud of my gifted friend, I thought it would be fitting to put the spotlight on Gina and tell all of you a little bit about Gina and her new book and why you should check it out.
First, let’s back up a little to the past with a story. When I was a Junior in College, I had a film assignment to make a short film. One part of that assignment was to create a storyboard. Except there was one glaring problem. I can’t draw. Not even a little. My ability didn’t stretch much further than stick figures. More than a little frustrated, I wasn’t sure what I was going to do. At one point I even considered cutting up magazine pictures. But then Gina came to my rescue! A talented illustrator, she offered to help me put together the entire storyboard. No questions. No motives. Just a simple offer of kindness to share her talent with me. Because that’s the kind of friend she is. So together we created the storyboard for my project and it turned out pretty amazing.
Jump ahead to present day and now Gina is sharing her talent and positivity with everyone. So let’s take a closer look at The Purple Poppy.
THE PURPLE POPPY – OFFICIAL SYNOPSIS
The purple poppy wakes up one morning to find her world changed. To find out why, she goes on a journey and ultimately finds the answer within.
INSPIRATION BEHIND THE PURPLE POPPY
The Purple Poppy is a wonderful children’s book with beautiful, illustrations and themes that will speak not only to children but adults as well. With my copy in hand, I caught up with Gina and asked her about the inspiration behind the book.
“I wanted to put a book out there with a simple, spiritual message that was relatable to kids,” she told me.
And then Gina told me the detailed story of her inspiration and creative process. I thought I would share it with all of you as she says it better than I ever could:
“Three years ago, I found myself the parent of a willful 2-year-old and realized I needed some help regarding my parenting. I didn’t want to change her, I loved her determination and spirit but the power struggles were exhausting. Through a friend I learned of a parenting class where you are taught to parent through love with a mindful and conscious approach. I think the description said something like, “Yell less, enjoy your kids more.” And who wouldn’t want that?
So I’m sitting in this class and the topics are choices and how our emotions are our own responsibility and within our power to accept. Do we choose to give others the power over us, or do we accept responsibility for how we see situations? Perspective is fluid, it can change. Like the poppy, how we choose to see the world can make us awash in a world of gray or bathed in beautiful colors. I thought how funny it would be if someone told a story about that old cliche, “stop and smell the flowers” from the point of view of the actual flower. From there, the story flowed out of me. I think I wrote it in 15 minutes and I typed it out feverishly into my phone’s notes before the inspiration left.”
But writing The Purple Poppy wasn’t as easy as it sounds. Gina concludes with these thoughts we all can relate to:
“I’ve always wanted to write a children’s book but faced a lot of personal, mental, and emotional blocks as far as expressing creativity. Painting, writing, putting a part of yourself out there, especially if it comes from the heart and an honest place like this project did, can be incredibly vulnerable. Once I worked through those fears, I was ready to complete the book and self-publish. My motivation is to get this message out there. The idea that anyone, adult or child, can choose to see the world with eyes of love and create more joy and more gratitude simply by choosing their focus.”
The Purple Poppy is now available to buy on Amazon!
ABOUT GINA JEFFRIES
Gina Jeffries is a writer, artist, and preschool art teacher who lives in Miami, Florida with her daughter Ana and her dog Felix. A proud member of the human race, she believes in the inherent good that exists in all of us.
Photos Courtesy of Gina Jeffries