Boe authors inspirational children's book
Working in a library gives you a chance to see many different types of books come across your desk. It also gives you a chance to dream of having your own name emblazoned on the front of a book.
For Gail (Wyffels) Boe, a 1999 Minneota graduate now living in New Ulm, the dream recently became a reality.
"I have always wanted to write to try and write a book," Boe said. "And I had an idea for one, but I didn't do anything about it. Then I thought I'd better do it before someone else comes up with the same idea."
With the pandemic hitting last year, Boe also had more time to work on the book.
Boe, the daughter of Wayne and Kathy Wyffels of Minneota, can now call herself an author after her children's book, "Lettuce" was published by Mascot Books of Herndon, Virginia.Her books were delivered a few weeks ago.
"To open the box and see your name on the book is thrilling," Boe said. "I had seen the cover online with my name on it, but to see it on an actual book is just an indescribable feeling."
The character of the book is a head of lettuce. But nearly everything about the words, design and photos have a double meaning.
"Lettuce is a book about encouraging kids to do what they feel most comfortable doing," said Boe. "So lettuce also means 'let us', as in let us do what we do best. It's about celebrating people's differences."
For instance, one page is written "Let us run, let us walk", while another reads "Let us sing, let us talk".
"Someone might prefer to walk while another might prefer to run," the personable author said. "Or someone might want to sing while another prefers not to. It's about having a choice."
There are also many things in the book related to Boe and her family. For instance, the little head of lettuce is donning a baseball cap because her son, Carson, likes to play baseball. Lettuce also wears blue shoes because Carson's favorite color is blue.
In one school room illustration, a chalkboard has addition problems written on it. One of them is 12 + 9 = 21.
"When I was working on the book Carson was 12 and Lucy was 9 (they are now 13 and 10)," Gail explained. "Also, my husband wore number nine and I wore number 12 in basketball."
The other addition problem on the chalkboard was 25 + 8.
"I have always really loved Christmas so that's what the 25 is for," Gail told. "And eight is the number I wore when I played volleyball."
Boe chose lettuce for her character with the "L" representing her daughter Lucy. The green lettuce with a red baseball cap are colors also representing her love for Christmas.
Boe requested those things be included in the illustrations, which were done by Junica, a derivation of the names of two illustrators who formed a partnership.
After Boe put her idea together, she searched online for a publisher and found Mascot Books, which is a children's book publisher. She then worked with them on securing an illustrator. She was given a thumbnail list of several illustrators and was told to pick her top 10.
"Later on I had to narrow that down to my top three," she noted. "Those three then sent me a sketch of the main character in the book (lettuce), using the ideas I wanted like the baseball cap and shoes."
After being sent illustrations from each of the three finalists, Boe picked the one she felt was the best for her book.
Finally, everything came to fruition on April 24 when copies of the books arrived on Boe's doorstep.
"My dad always told me to do your best and work hard," Boe said. "And my mom told me if I had an idea that I should keep at it. They were both super supportive."
The hardcover book can currently be ordered directly on the Mascot Books website at https://bit.ly/3gIKQ14. The book will also be available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble in early June.