Interview sponsored* by June Rousso
The Children’s Book Review | November 17, 2017
June Rousso, Ph.D discusses We All Live On This Planet Together, a book that teaches children to focus their attention on inner strengths and the beauty in our world to manage fear while accepting their negative feelings.
The Children’s Book Review: We All Live On This Planet Together focuses on how the love we feel for ourselves and toward the wonders of the world can fade behind our everyday worries. Can you tell us who the intended audience for this book is?
June Rousso, Ph.D: The book is intended for children of all ages. It can be read to younger children who can learn the concepts presented in the book from a young age. The book lends itself to a discussion of the main ideas and encourages children to express their own thoughts about their inner strengths and what they see as beauty in the world. The goal is to use this knowledge in coping with stress.
You have a Ph.D, you are a licensed psychologist, and most of your writing is based upon principles of positive psychology. I read that it was during your positive psychology studies that you conceived of a book on addressing fear through positivity. Was there a particular moment that sparked this idea for the book? Or did the idea slowly brew until it grew enough that you couldn’t ignore it?
Studying positive psychology gave me a lens through which to view the world and since I love writing, it was a natural that I would write with an emphasis on accentuating the positive in our lives. I started to realize over time that my own awareness of my inner strengths and the beauty in the world was shrinking the more stress there was in my life. This is what I wanted to share with readers – that we can reduce stress the more that we make a conscious effort to be aware of our strengths and the world’s beauty.
Can you tell us about your creative process from the book idea to published book in your hands?
It’s a funny thing- I had the concept of the book in mind- looking for the good within and without- and the first words came out in rhyme. I thought to myself to stay with the rhyming and see what path it would take. Every few days or so, I would think about other stanzas to add to the piece. It was like building with Legos, having the base, and adding more blocks to the creation. All along I imagined bright watercolor illustrations for the poem and submitted the idea to the publisher, which they loved. From start to finish, it took about a year to publication date.
We All Live on This Planet Together is written in rhyme, which is an engaging style of writing for kids. Did writing in rhyme present any challenges for you, or did the rhymes come easily?
Rhyming came usually easy to me in that I did not have to think a lot about the exact words that I wanted to use in the story. It felt more like I was following the pen much as an artist follows a paintbrush. The words just seem to flow out and you are never sure just where the come from.
The book is colorfully illustrated in watercolors. Did you create the art or collaborate with an illustrator?
I wish that I could say that I illustrated the book. Fortunately, the publisher had a talented illustrator on hand, Paige Maska, and it was her concept to present the illustrations in the context of a school play. I thought that this was a wonderful idea and something children could relate to. Paige created all of the illustrations from pencil sketches to the watercolors shown in the book.
What has been the best response from a reader, so far?
“Wonderful book for children of all ages. I hope they learn the concept early in their young lives. ” – J.W. And Suzanne Rhoades
We All Live on This Planet Together teaches children to focus their attention on inner strengths and the beauty in the world to manage fear while accepting their negative feelings. What do you consider to be your own inner strengths? And which parts of our world do you find the most beautiful?
Intrigued by the concept of character strengths, I took a character strengths profile published by the VIA Institute on Character. My top five strengths, which I agree with by the way, are appreciation of beauty and excellence, perseverance, self-regulation or discipline, curiosity, and humor. These are great strengths to have as a writer. The parts of the world that I find most beautiful are sunsets, a full moon, a starry night, fields of flowers, the ocean, and anything that is part of nature.
What do you find are the most rewarding aspects of being an author?
Writing grounds me. When I can let judgments of my work recede in the background, writing is a form of relaxation and gives meaning to my life. I would love to be an acclaimed writer someday, but that is not the end goal because the real joy is in the writing process.
Where is your favorite place to write?
Writing usually starts in my mind at night when I am just trying to fall asleep. As I relax thoughts come to my mind and then I love to sit in a cozy chair in my living room the next day, getting my thoughts down on paper. When the creativity runs dry, I take a break and return to writing recharged.
Is there anything else that you would like to share about yourself, We All Live On This Planet Together, or any future books?
I love writing pieces that help people find positive ways of dealing with difficult situations. I am working on a book on the meaning of happiness, which so far is coming out in rhyme. Sometimes I feel programmed to write in rhyme. Maybe I am a long lost relative of Dr. Seuss. 😀
Written by June Rousso, Ph.D.
Illustrated by Paige Maska
Publisher’s Synopsis: We All Live In This World Together teaches children to focus their attention on inner strengths and the beauty in our world to manage fear while accepting their negative feelings. It shows how letting our fears build can be overwhelming, distort self-image and how we view the world.
All Ages | Publisher: Indigo River Publishing | 2017 | ISBN: 978-0999021033
About the Author
June Rousso, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist who has worked with children and adults in private practice and clinic settings. Much of her philosophy is based upon principles of positive psychology, and it was in her PP studies that she conceived of a book for children to teach them how to address their fears using positivity. Dr. Rousso resides in New York City and negotiates much of its busyness accentuating the positive.
The Author Showcase is a place for authors and illustrators to gain visibility for their works. This interview was sponsored* by June Rousso, Ph.D., the author of ‘We All Live On This Planet Together.’ Discover more great writing and illustrating artists in our Showcase.