Newport Beach author Marjorie Healy Shefer has found a unique way of helping children. Her book, “Children Helping Children (true stories told by the animals)” tackles difficult challenges some children face. Shefer hopes that by reading her book kids will learn that they are not alone in their experiences or their feelings.
In each of the eight stories that make up the book, all of the characters are animals. Stories cover topics such as living in two different houses as a result of a divorce, being abandoned and accepting a new environment, being made fun of, and listening to parents yell at each other.
Shefer’s goal is to get a copy of her book into the hands of every child who comes into the emergency shelters in Orange County. Already her donation of 100 books to Orangewood Children’s Home is greatly appreciated.
Debi Ubaldini, Senior Office Supervisor at Orangewood, is very pleased with the response of the book donations so far. Copies of “Children Helping Children” are in the lobby and, according to Ubaldini, they are currently working on getting a special bookshelf for them.
Ulbaldini was delighted to share news of how the book has been received so far.
“Just today there was a woman in our lobby looking through the book. She had mentioned what a wonderful book it was. I told her she could take it with her and she was thrilled. The woman was a foster parent and told me that she had a 9-year-old daughter at home that this book would be just perfect for and was so happy to take it home. “
When Shefer has completed her training as a volunteer at Orangewood, she will be able to be a guest storyteller, reading from her book and facilitating discussion with the children.
Shefer, herself a mother of five and grandmother of seven, says that “because topics can be harsh, using animals helps make the stories more gentle and helps protect the identity of real kids who shared their feelings with me.”
All of the stories except one are based on the stories and the feelings of real children that Shefer has met. “Squeaky the Travelling Mouse” is the exception. “I started that story when I was 9 years old and I had forgotten about it. I found it at my Mom’s house and told myself I was going to finish it.”
It took five years total, and two years working with her illustrator, Grethel Peralta, before she self-published “Children Helping Children.” Shefer refers to her book and goal of helping children, “grassroots,” adding, “that’s what self publishing is.”
“ If I know that one little kid feels he is not alone [because of my book], I’m happy.”
To contact the author or to purchase a copy of “Children Helping Children”:
Marjorie Healy Shefer
PO Box 1932
Newport Beach CA, 92659
Books are $20 each and include tax, shipping and handling. Make the check out to Marjorie Healy Shefer. Contact her directly for discounts on larger quantity orders.