Monday, October 28, 2019

Lisa Cole’s “While Mommy Was Fast Asleep”

With the millions of books available it is often difficult to find the diamond in the rough. However, that is exactly what I have found in Lisa Cole's book While Mommy Was Fast Asleep. I hope you enjoy getting to know about this author and her book as much I.



Worldwide, an estimated 1.3 billion people live with vision loss. Roughly 36 million of those are blind. The little sister in our book is one. One night, she doesn’t feel well, so her big sister steps up to care for her all night while they believe mom is sleeping.

While Mommy Was Fast Asleep is a beautifully illustrated children’s picture book about strong family bonds and a message that visionless doesn’t mean hopeless. Illustrations, not text, reveal little sister is blind. Themed emphasis on sound and touch. Lilting rhyme and soothing meter.

...In our research on books that feature characters with vision loss, we discovered that it was typical for the blindness to be central to the plot. Ms. Eaton (illustrator) and I (Lisa Cole, Author) longed to create an inclusive story where the character was loved simply for whom they were rather than singled out for any specific difference. Unless it is pointed out, younger children experiencing this story for the first time may not even realize little sister is blind.

While Mommy Was Fast Asleep includes thought-provoking homework questions at the back of the book. The teacher's guide, created by a teacher-turned-author, is also available for free by download (Jan 2020) and for a nominal print price.

A website devoted to the book (www.WhileMommyWasFastAsleep) provides links and resources to help families find nonprofits devoted to vision loss.

Tell your readers a little about yourself, where you grew up, where you live now, where you went to school etc. Let them get to know the personal you.

My name is Lisa Cole. I am an investor in talent, and I am passionate about making a positive difference for my community and the world. I was born in Columbia, South Carolina, and have lived in this area my whole life.

My college and career background is in marketing, management, and communications. I have been writing (and trying to start companies!) since I was six years old. Over the years I had started businesses in grocery delivery (before it was cool), soy candle making, collie dog education, and even pet gift baskets. My favorite though is when I started the business of motherhood. I love being a mom! My four children, who range in age from 5 to 11, are my heart's joy. They truly give me a reason to get up every day and reach for the stars. In fact, most of my writing stems from real-life moments I've experienced as a mom.

As an adult, I have devoted my life to education, children, and nonprofit service. My days are filled with publishing adventures, volunteer work, school board service, baseball games, and Netflix binges.

What inspired you to author this book?

I have been writing creative nonfiction and short stories for adults for years. About a year ago, I woke up one morning after one of the best night's sleep I'd had in years and realized none of the kids had crawled into bed with me. As we began getting ready for school, my oldest daughter complained of how tired she was."Why?" I asked. "You went to bed at 8 pm and slept all night!"
She began telling me that her little sister (with whom she shares a room) had kept waking her up saying she didn't feel well. She read her stories, took her to potty, and even got her water - all without disturbing me. The tenderness with which she had cared for her sister all night touched me so deeply I turned it into a short story that was subsequently published by a small house in Brooklyn, NY.

The story stuck with me so deeply, however, that I wanted to reposition it and tell it from the child's point of view. And thus the beginnings of "While Mommy Was Fast Asleep" was born.

Who is your target audience, and why?

My target audience for all of my writing is "moms." Even this children's book, because it's typically the women doing the reading of the book to the child. Us moms deal with so much, particularly when we are "in the trenches" of child-rearing, handling toddlers and diapers, and sometimes nursing babies at the same time. I enjoy writing stories that help other moms feel like they are part of a larger network of women who understand what they're experiencing. In While Mommy Was Fast Asleep, the subplot (told only through the illustrations) focuses on the emotions the mom is experiencing throughout the night.