Tuesday, October 28, 2014

My Christmas Gifts, a Children's Picture Book by Dedra Tregaskis - Hey that's me!

Tonight I'm writing about my most recent adventure of writing and illustrating a children's book. First off I have to say besides fighting depression (which is totally gone now and which I should definitely blog about soon) and having babies, illustrating this book was one of the hardest things I've done in my life.

My grandparents have all passed on (sad for me but great for them) and all I have is my memories and the things they left for me. My father's mother was extremely crafty. I can look around the room I'm writing in and pick out several things she passed on to me. I see these items every day and I think of her often. I've thought a lot about what I can pass on to my kids, but also to grandkids and beyond someday. What better way than sharing my beliefs and feelings through words and illustrations. For some that is definitely not the way but for me it just makes sense. And when I create, I feel especially close to my Grandmas who were all crafty in their own way. 

Oh, this is a loaded question for me. We LOVE books in our house and I love to set out stacks of holiday or seasonal books, but when it comes to Christmas time I run into a problem. It seems that the only children's "Christmas" books out there are:
A. about Santa 
B. about snow (having nothing to do with Christmas) and 
C. about the Savior's birth only (which is great but really misses the picture for me)
Forgive me but I am a bah humbug when it comes to Santa. I have some serious Santa issues and I feel like he steals the show. I know some people can incorporate him into the holidays correctly and that is awesome, but for me I boycott all things "Commrecial Santa."
It is great to have books about the Savior's birth. It's an important part of His story but so many people seem to think nowadays that they are celebrating Christmas when they celebrate just His birth. To me, His life and mission are essential parts of the equation for what we should be celebrating at Christmas. 
I wanted a book I could read to my kids that would help them to see how they, as small children, could best celebrate Christmas--how Christ would have them celebrate it. 

I'll let author Holly Kelly  and author Tifani Clark tell you about it: 
"What an amazing story! It brings the true meaning of Christmas to light through the eyes of a sweet child. With beautiful, unique illustrations that highlight this wonderful tale, it’s a treasure to have in my home. I especially love how this Christmas tale is centered on Christ. I can see myself reading this book to my children every Christmas season." Holly Kelly

"In My Christmas Gifts, the magic of Christmas and the spirit of giving is expressed through the eyes of a little girl. The story captures the reader from the first page. And the illustrations? Colorful and completely eye-catching. This is a great read for families of all shapes and sizes." Tifani Clark

Definitely on Thanksgiving night but anytime during the holiday season is very fitting. The book starts out on Thanksgiving day and then the little girl side tracks a little to talk about Halloween. So now some of you may be really confused how we are talking about Pagan Holidays and Christian Holidays? "Mwahahaha" is all I have to say. 
Everyone celebrates Halloween differently too and in our house it is a month of friendly, safe, family fun for all ages. We really love the colors and the nocturnal animals and dressing up! I have 3 girls and trust me we love to dress up! 
So now that you are sidetracked in my description of the story...the girl then sets her sights for the coming holiday of Christmas. She's feeling gratitude and she understands where all of her blessings come from and she wishes to give thanks by serving in her own special way. 

You can buy the book on Amazon or Create Space. It is available in paperback or Kindle.

My family has 5 members--A mother, a father and 3 girls. In the book there are 6 family members-- A mother, a father, 3 girls and a baby boy. NO, I am not making an announcement. I was visually trying to offset too much girlishness AND there is a tad of wishful thinking (ok more than a tad). To some we are crazy but we'd still love at least one more child. We've had a hard time having the kids we have but we are hopeful for more. If not, we are grateful for the children we have and the baby can at least symbolize one of the little ones we've lost. 

I appreciate the love and support I've received while making this from friends and family who have been curious about the project. 

It's really nerve racking for me to think about having other people look at it. I wrote it for my children. It's my first attempt at illustrating a book and I have no idea what people will think. It's not perfect in so many ways but I have learned a lot and if I ever did another, it would be no doubt better. 

I'm so excited to have it done and I hope that even if people don't love the illustrations or the grammar that they can still be touched by my love for my Savior and that they will be inspired with ways to better enjoy their holidays. 

Here are a few sneak peaks of the book:


Pages 6-7:

Page 14:

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Super Cool Announcement:

A children's book I recently wrote and illustrated is being published and will be released on November 5th! More details to come soon, plus a giveaway for a free copy. So excited!