From time to time, Archway Publishing turns over its blog to its authors, giving them the opportunity to share stories and perspectives about their individual self-publishing journeys. The following are the words of Dr. Amelia Rose, author of “The Straw that Broke the Camel’s Backpack”. Download the Archway Publishing free publishing guide for more information on our supported self-publishing services.
The Straw that Broke the Camel’s Backpack is a lighthearted children’s story of giving, but perhaps giving of yourself a little too much. Its message relates the dilemma of trying to help others, but knowing your own limits at the same time. It illustrates how one’s self-esteem can be compromised by wanting to “fit in” by pleasing others. In essence, it is also a story about bullying in a different form, since others may ask you to do things that they may be able to do themselves, but it is simply easier to ask someone else to do their work.
This story and characters are based on my son’s dilemma that he faces to this very day by wanting to say “yes” and please everyone, even if the consequences of doing so may hurt him.
The story began one day when I spoke to Christian (my Charley) about his broken bookbag, “That is the straw that broke the camel’s back,” I exclaimed when he told me he was holding all his friends’ hard-covered books back to the library when the bag broke. He replied, “Mom, I didn’t want to break a camel’s back!” It was then that I realized I had to explain the anecdote to him, and that he needed to stop doing everything for everyone all the time, even when it hurt himself.
I hope the book impacts all children who feel compelled to be “in” with the crowd or group of “friends” who may use them and therefore may not truly be their friends at all. True friends will understand and try to help you. So far, I have been extremely successful in having those who read the book appreciate, love, and understand Charley’s dilemma. You have no idea how young some children are who have the book read to them by their parents or friends, and understand the message – don’t be bullied into doing what you cannot do for others – and yourself – true friends will always be there for you. I am also passionate about the message of the book because I lived it with my son, and I am so happy that I did finally write the book (as promised to Christian) so that the message will be heard by so many others who are bullied today, either overtly or surreptitiously.
I have been at book signings and events in many areas hoping to get my message across to everyone – young and old. It is so surprising, heartwarming, and humorous to hear mothers tell me they wish they had this book when they were children because they are still doing too much to others to this very day – at 30+ years old they still succumb to bullying! Mothers and fathers (and children in schools where I have read the book) absolutely love, love Charley! They ask for stuffed animals of him so that they can hug Charley every night in order to get the confidence they need to stand up to the stress of schools and the bullying that occurs there every day. They write letters to Charley telling him how much the book helped them.
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