Chandler, Arizona – By Kim Keelor
Everyone feels small or inadequate at some point in their lives. The Tiniest Tumbleweed, a children’s book by first-time Arizona author Kathy Peach, is a story strategically constructed to help children think big thoughts about what they can do to become their best selves, in spite of their circumstances. Officially released Jan. 8, 2016, the book is now in bookstores and on Amazon.
It is the story of two Sonoran Desert characters, a tiny tumbleweed and a baby house sparrow. Both tiny tumbleweed and baby sparrow enter their worlds with similar challenges—they worry they are too small to accomplish the things bigger tumbleweeds and birds do, like making seeds and flying.
“Will I be as big and strong as my brothers and sisters?” they both ask, expressing their insecurities.
The timeless theme of the story is presented with Mother Tumbleweed’s wise response: “You will be as big and strong as YOU will be, and that is just fine, just fine indeed.” With these words, each of the tiny ones decides to take on the difficult tasks of doing the work needed to help them grow. As a result, at just the right time, they provide the perfect help for each other, fulfilling their passionate need to be useful.
Peach says she developed the story to help children believe in their own capabilities.
“Tiny tumbleweed and baby sparrow, like all of us, must learn to work within our limitations,” Peach says, “In telling the story, I combined a method of writing fine children’s literature whereby children can believe in a life that holds limitless possibilities, with learnings on fostering self-efficacy from psychologist Albert Bandura, Ph.D. The intended result is to build the reader’s sense of self-efficacy and possibility.”
At a time of life when most people begin to slow down, Kathy Peach decided to follow her lifelong dreams of earning a college degree and writing a children’s book. She moved from her home of Middle Tennessee to Arizona, and graduated from Arizona State University in December 2014 with a degree in Early Childhood/Early Childhood Special Education. Peach has been a teacher for the Head Start program in Phoenix.
“A tumbleweed may seem an unlikely character, but just as the Southwest has such allure for me as a transplant, it seems to enchant others too,” said Peach. “After moving here, I saw a tiny bird dive into a tumbleweed near a fence. I almost wrecked my car watching the bird fly inside the tumbleweed but I didn’t see it fly back out. I returned to that place several times to observe tiny birds fly inside tumbleweeds and simply sit.” It was the synergy between living things and the boundless opportunities that relationship provides that helped inspire the characters and the story.
“This book beautifully demonstrates that each person has a unique gift to offer. It not only provides hope, but it also teaches young children how to respect each other’s differences,” says Linda F. Radke, president and publisher of Five Star Publications, Inc. “This is such an important message to instill early in the lives of little ones and I am so excited to partner with Kathy to publish this book!”
Edited by award-winning children’s author Conrad J. Storad and charmingly illustrated by Alex Lopez, The Tiniest Tumbleweed supports Arizona’s College and Career Ready Standards (Common Core) for third grade English Language Arts (ELA). The book includes a curriculum guide with facts about tumbleweeds and sparrows following the story.
The Tiniest Tumbleweed (ISBN: 978-1-58985-226-6, softbound; eISBN: 978-1-58985-227-3, eBook; $12.95 US/$13.95 CAN) is published by Little Five Star, a division of Five Star Publications, Inc., and will be marketed and distributed by Midpoint Trade Books, Ingram, Baker & Taylor and eStarPublish.com.