Every book has an origin story. To say When My Daddy Shows Me the Sky has been in my mind a long time is an understatement. Try twenty years. In graduate school, I first sketched a picture book storyboard about a Daddy showing his daughter the constellations. This was my first attempt at penning a picture book; I had been more of a poet up until then. After graduating, I closed the page to my sketchbook and moved on to new projects and work, but in the back of my head I always knew it would be the first.
Summer 2019 followed a five year creative writing dry spell for me, as my writing time mainly consisted of non-fiction articles for work. Statistics had hidden the stories. When I returned to my roots and began working in a school again, the stories started to re-emerge. I realized the hole I felt was due to being so far from my creativity. Since originally outlining When My Daddy Shows Me the Sky, I had become a yoga teacher, a counselor, and a mom, all of which became intertwined in the story. And suddenly it became a book I couldn’t have written 20 years ago.
At the end of March 2020, when time seemed to both stop and slip through our fingers, I decided to send my book out to publishers. After I hit send, I purposely pushed the submission out of my mind, nothing to do but wait. Six months later, I opened my email to see a message from Brandylane Publishers. I closed the door to my small office, so my coworkers and my students couldn’t see me dancing. It had finally happened. I experienced the *real* moment that I rehearsed in my mind since I was a girl, and it was everything I had imagined it to be.
Keep looking up,
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Rebecca W. Wheeler
School counselor, psychology educator, and yoga instructor.