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October 28, 2019

Stewart’s prior books, all for adults, have focused on helping readers make positive changes in their lives. With her latest title, Meet the Imaginative Joe Dreamer, Stewart is switching her attention to children to teach them important life skills.

What drew you to write for children after your previous works have been adult and nonfiction?

I wrote my earlier works before I became a mom. My focus then was on serious life matters and on  inspiring people to make positive changes in their lives; I wanted to put on paper much of what I was thinking and feeling at the time. After becoming a mom, I was encouraged by a friend to write a children’s book. I thought it was a good idea, and eventually the inspiration for a story came to me.

How do you think your writing has evolved over time?

My writing has moved from being very emotionally heavy and about serious life issues to being more humorous and lighthearted and communicating important concepts concerning children. My earlier writing tended to embody some of the wounded emotions and concerns I had at the time, while now there is more creativity and excitement in my writing. I haven’t given up on writing for adults, but my writing now is largely suited to children.

Why did you want to help children learn how to problem solve and build confidence rather than teach them another skill or basic information like colors?

I wanted to write a children’s book that brought something different or unique to the market, something other than colors, ABCs, and counting, as there are already many books on the market that address those subject areas. I did initially consider pursuing a book on ABCs but with a unique angle. However, I waited for inspiration to come to me, as opposed to brainstorming about what to focus the book on. It was a combination of seeing my firstborn son’s preschool art work and observing him play at an imagination playground that gave me the marvelous idea to write a book geared to children that focused on art and using the imagination. I started to research the importance of art and the imagination, and I learned that both have been proven to support problem-solving and confidence building. I have become driven to promote these concepts. I am passionate about the idea of nurturing abilities in children that will impact their futures. Yes, ABCs and counting are great starting points for early learners, but we can’t stop there. As life evolves and we move into the future, we will need people who are creative and innovative to come up with solutions to problems. We know the adage that children are the future, so it’s very important to me that we prepare children to lead us into the future.

What encouragement would you give a reluctant reader?

I would say start with admiring the illustrations in the book and see how fun they are. Think of reading as fun. This book is certainly a fun read. Don’t take my word for it; have a look through the reviews on Amazon and see how much fun and enjoyment other readers have had. Also, consider that there could be things you can relate to in the book, so read it for the sake of curiosity, to see if the character, the setting, or the story line itself is something that you can relate to.

What’s next for you?

I continue to expand on the Joe Dreamer series. There are currently three books in the series, and now I am working on book four. I am also coauthoring a picture book with my eight-year-old son about his relationship with his teddy bear.