What is my biggest announcement to date? Well…I WROTE A BOOK! Technically speaking, WE wrote a book. Who's WE, you ask? My songwriting partner and pal, Nathan Meckel. There's a little bit of a back story that follows the journey from idea – to song – to idea – to book release in the fall of '23…but let's take just a moment and do some high-pitched squealing, some high-kicks, and some high-fives all around for this EXCITING, biggest announcement of my career journey so far!
(Brief pause for extreme celebration, thank you very much)
We'll get to the book page, how you can make a book pre-order with some fun, limited time bonuses, and more! But for now…let's see that BEAUTIFUL BOOK COVER, shall we?? We shall. Drum roll please!
Dare to be me Book Cover Reveal
Isn't it the most perfect lil' book cover you ever did see?? I'm not biased in the slightest. I'm just in love with the textures and colors and whimsy that our illustrator, Ana Larrañaga created. Nathan and I would create mini stories for each phrase, and tried to desribe what we thought might represent our text – and every time she knocked it out of the park. She took our words, listened to my (often rambling) description of what we envisioned – and voilá! Every time a mock-up would hit our inbox, I cried a little.
I simply can't WAIT for you to hold this book in your hands and read it to your children and your grandchildren. Teachers, I have dreams of this book that encourages and celebrates individuality to be on the bookshelves of every pre-k and kindergarten classroom. I want it to be a book that's enjoyed night after night at bedtime, so as your child's head hits their pillow the last words they hear will be ones of encouragement and hope.
You may say I'm a dreamer…you'd be 100% correct.
Before the book…There was the song
And now for a brief history lesson of how this book came to be. If you want the whole story BEFORE this story – read this:
Ok, let's give you the VERY short version here. My first career was in country music as a singer, songwriter, session vocalist, demo singer, and heck – even Gwenyth Paltrow's backup singer in Country Strong. Then after 15+ years, I had a change of heart and got my masters in education, leading me to teach kindergarten.
My pal, Nathan called me up one day and asked if I'd be interested in doing a career mash-up of sorts. What would happen if I tried to combine my love for music with my love for all the kid things? Well, that was a no-brainer to me.
Spoiler alert – we did it.
In 2020, we released my first single, Dare To Be Me. It went to #1 on Kids Place Live, Sirius XM.
I freaked out. A bit more than slightly.
Dare To Be Me was like lightening. Shirts, buttons, stickers…you name it. Kids, teachers, AND parents seemed to love this tune. We continued to put out single after single – and each one was special and fun and each one made it to the Top #3. But, something about the message in THIS song is just…special.
WHy This Book – Why Now?
Having taught kindergarten now for 10 years, I can tell you that nothing beats a good read aloud with your kids. NOTHING. If we have 5 minutes left over – my kids beg for a quick book. They eat it up! It's so important for our kids to be read to daily for many, many reasons. ALL kinds of books.
Recently, we've seen the growing need to put a focus on the social-emotional wellnes of our kids. One of the ways we do this in the younger grades is to – you guessed it – read a book. We can have great discussions after reading a book with a wonderful message. Young kids come up with the BEST thoughts and ideas if you give them the space to ask and share and dream.
One thing I've noticed the past couple of years, is that confidence is lacking in our kids and comparison is running circles around them. It is heartbreaking to see. I remember the feeling of being 100% me, and I also remember when I started trying to shrink a bit.
I even did this for years as an adult – and if you're honest with yourself – maybe you have been in the same boat? We all want approval, and sometimes, it's scary to put yourself out there as the authentic, unique, and wonderful YOU that YOU are.
DARE TO BE ME – MY BIGGEST ANNOUNCEMENT YET
Let's get back to my biggest announcement to date.
I showed up to a songwriting session at, Nathan's place. Before he could tune his guitar I shouted,
“We need to write a BOOK today. NOT a song.
Well…what I mean is we need our
SONG to be a BOOK.”
He listened to me go on and on with my sales pitch about how the message of Dare To Be Me was one that was NEEDED, NOW more than EVER.
And so…we wrote the book.
Here's a sneak peak inside the book
Nathan and I took the song lyric, and then went back to the drawing board. Let me tell you, writing a song comes pretty easy to us. Writing a book, is HARD. 😉
Especially since we wanted it to have pieces of the song reflected – but also be a stand-alone work. We wanted a bigger, broader message to be shared, while keeping the whimsy alive and well.
Recording a song, producing a song, mixing, mastering, and releasing a song – feels like breathing.
Writing a book, pitching a book, editing, collaborating, and releasing a book – feels like…well…like I'm on one of those rides at a carnival where they release you and the air is knocked out of you for a moment and then it comes rushing back and you can't quite catch it – but then you do…and it's exhilarating and you are laughing while telling everyone who will listen, “You gotta try it!”
So…picture me after being sling-shotted out of that carnival ride, laughing and gasping for air saying, “YOU GOTTA READ OUR BOOK!!”
And…you can pre-order it now. I really, really hope you do.
Dare to pre-order this book, because…
I mean…LOOK AT THOSE ILLUSTRATIONS, would you??
Have you ever tried to cram yourself into a copycat costume? I have. FAR too many times.
I remember my sister telling me not to be a copycat. But I wanted to be JUST like her. There is a picture of us in our back yard by this little fish pond my dad had built. We are wearing our Sunday dresses. She is laughing and lanky and frilly. I am – well to put it mildly I look like a polyester burrito that's about to bust. My legs were at war with the elastic bands on my socks, causing the blood to all be in my pressure cooker of a face.
Be YOU. Everyone else is already taken.
Head to the book page now to pre-order Dare To Be Me
And now it's time for you to take the biggest announcement I've made to date – and tell you WHERE you can pre-order this book with it's limited time bonuses! Click the button below to find out all the information.
One last thing, I'd like to say thank you in advance. Thank you for supporting our little book and it's message. Every single pre-order purchase helps us get one step closer to our dream and goal to put books into the hands of deserving teachers and students.
So, who do you know that might like a book? Does your neighbor have a grandchild? Do you know someone who is just starting to build their classroom library? This is a book to be read over and over, again and again. I can't WAIT for you to have your own copy!
OH! The last part of my biggest announcement is that on 9/12/23, Dare To Be Me is officially released! But if you pre-order…you'll get yours in August along with some other perks!