This little book found its way on to my desk before we went away and I was struck by the charming story and gorgeous illustrations. Also, I think the world right now could do with a little optimism so the message really resonated with me (don’t you find that often happens with good children’s books?). My husband knows the author Greg so I thought I’d ask him some questions behind the writing process.
1. As someone who isn’t in the writing field, can you tell us the inspiration behind writing your first book?
After two cardiac surgeries and over 200 days in hospital fighting a life threatening tropical bacteria that attacked my heart valves, I had a dream. A dream to help inspire kids to get better and be better.
Due to a great family, an inspiring father and certain life-changing events, I learned to use positive thought, optimism and a passion for the ocean, to survive and thrive.
This book is a culmination and part of my plan and dream from 14 years ago.
2. Why is the message contained in this book so important to you?
As a kid I lacked confidence, was a poor student, had bad acne and was bullied. I was put in a box by my teachers and peers, and I believed I could never amount to anything much in life.
Certain key events in my life allowed me to shift my perceived reality. As a cardiac patient and survivor I have gone on to surf some of the biggest waves in the world and become a champion lifesaver and stand up paddler. It is my mission to show kids that they too can shift perceived reality! And that most of all: little people can do big things!
I believe that the story of the REAL Little Optimist and this little book, will inspire kids to get better, be better and follow their passions and dreams.
3. I see that for every copy sold, another gets donated to a sick or needy child – how does that work?
When you buy a copy, we print and donate another copy free to sick and needy kids in hospitals, orphanages and homes. We do this in partnership with the Children’s Hospital Trust, Spirit Education Foundation and the Little Optimist Trust. Books that are donated are in English, Afrikaans and Xhosa for now, so that we can get this cool story and message of hope and inspiration to as many kids in SA as possible.
4. Where can people buy the book?
To be able to give one book away FREE (to sick and needy kids) for each one we sell, I have had to finance, publish, print and market the book myself to make it feasible.
We are selling it through my networks and partner organisations, and its available for R120 per copy on my website. You can also view postage pricing and options there.
Or you can buy from:
– NSRI Sea point
– Sharkspotters Muizenberg
– Xpression on the Beach Muizenberg
– Dario’s Café & Pilates Bio Studio in Hout Bay
– Sport ‘n Surf in Cape Town
– Kommetjie Surf Shop
– Art Studio in Kommetjie
The Little Optimist by Greg Bertish is such a sweet story, with great rhyming text that my kids totally got into – and I love the message behind it encouraging kids to be brave and proud of being different. You can buy a copy or read more about it here.