Nancy O’Neill is following her dreams and inspiring others to do the same while enlightening kids with her unique children’s books.
Her latest book in the new “Guess What…” series hit bookshelves and the cyber-market on Apr. 30 much to O’Neill’s delight.
The premier picture book, “Guess What is on Grandpa’s Farm?” is designed with clever rhyming cues and vibrant illustrations designed to guide young readers on an adventurous guessing game and learning journey.
In a fun twist to illustrations, the author decided to create a contest for kids to send in their drawings for a potential spot in the book.
“I used Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites to get the word out I was accepting submissions from kids for the book’s illustrations,” O’Neill explained. “Out of more than seventy submissions, two of the kids are from Murrieta and one is from Temecula.
In all, thirteen submissions were chosen with young artists hailing from America to as far way as New Dehli, India.
O’Neill began her foray into writing in the 1980’s when she was hired to write for T.V. Guide.
“I really didn’t have formal writing experience, but, I always enjoyed writing and would compose newsletters for different companies before I began writing for T.V. Guide,” she said.
She switched gears and became a stay-at-home mom after her son was born in 1995.
“I started buying books to read to my son and realized I could create a children’s book.”
Her philosophy is a little different from the oft recommended calculated approach to achieving goals.
“There doesn’t necessarily need to be a specific goal or plan in place to be successful,” she said. “Opportunities can pop up when we least expect it.”
In true altruistic fashion, O’Neill said another benefit to encouraging kids to submit drawings for the books is to be an inspiration and to help them.
“Schools are so limited in what they can offer these days,” she said. “I really love doing things for kids.”
Her plan is proving beneficial because two of the kids are writing and illustrating their own children’s books and one girl is using O’Neill’s book to build her portfolio for admission into art school.
A new worldwide illustration contest for kids is slated to start soon in support of her her next book, “Guess What is at the North Pole?” The book is scheduled to be released in Oct. of this year.
The author, local illustrators, and other local children’s book authors will be at Temecula’s Author Fest. The event is being held at the Temecula Public Library located on Pauba Road, May 23 at 4 p.m.
Her books can be found on Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble and signed copies can be purchased on her website: http://www.guesswhatbooks.com/books.html
Stephanie D. Schulte is a writer/photographer with SWRNN. She can be reached at email@example.com.