How This Story Came To Be
Nearly three and a half years ago I witnessed, for the first time since childhood, the true warrior power of women, when my sister gave birth to my nephew Leo. I was with her in the birthing room at Saint Thomas’ Hospital during her labour, perhaps the best hospital in London to have a British baby met as it is situated across from Big Ben on the river Thames and each room features large windows which overlook the sweet sights below. In front of the hospital, on the south side of Westminster bridge, is a large stone lion known as The Southbank Lion whose gaze rests on the room Leo arrived in.
Before he was born, his name was to be Preston, but my sister changed it in the last moments of birth announcing in the inarguable tone only a woman in the last moments of life creation can summon: “his name will be Leo and that’s it” as she gave the final push. I had felt the lion’s gaze for the duration of the labour but at that moment I looked towards it and in the delirium that long hours’ awake offer, I was sure he gave me a wink.
I held Leo for the first time while my sister rested, introducing him to the first sunrise while whispering blessings and promises to him and the universe for the life he’d lead and the love and protection I promised to provide.
About a year later, on a Friday night in Paris, there were numerous attacks on the city and 130 innocent people were killed.
As the city mourned, I sat on my computer assuring family my husfriend and I were safe, while trying to understand what had happened and what to do next. A video shared by a friend on facebook caught my eye and upon playing it, caught my heart as well. It was of a father and his child, probably a few years older than my nephew Leo, at Place de la République, where a memorial for the lives lost had been set up. A journalist interviewed the child, who was around age 4 at the time, about what he understood had happened and his response made me think of my nephew and how the children of today will have to learn how to digest the growing violence. (You can watch the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=96b-QPJsYK4)
This little boy got me thinking of my nephew and how the children of today will have to learn how to digest the growing violence and how parents (or Aunts) might communicate its complexities, especially to those who are very young. In response, I wrote this book, for both adults and children, which tries to explain and make sense of it all.
The Lion had arrived long before little Leo and had learned all he could about wisdom and ego
The Lion was eager to share all he’d gathered, from his time here on earth on subjects that mattered //
But Leo first needed to grow, feed and learn, as many lessons arrive soon after you’re born
So the Lion he waited and watched and enjoyed, as this human grew from a small baby to a little boy //
And then one day to the Lion’s surprise, the boy named Leo looked right in his eyes
And asked him a question needing an answer so big, it took the Lion some time to reflect on and think //
“What Is Love?” Leo asked with a twinkle in his eye and the Lion felt so joyful he nearly started to cry
“Love,” said the Lion with a voice soft and deep, is the most important and beautiful of all the feelings //
It’s a word which transcends every race, gender and language, which can cure any hurt without so much as a bandage
It is a magical thing made to nourish and share, as it shows the world how much your heart and soul can care //
It is meant to be shared with every living thing, from the animals and plants to each human being
“But what if we don’t” Leo whispered with worry, and his eyes filled with tears making his vision all blurry // The Lion hugged Leo and slowly explained, how the planet they live on creates most of its pain
If we don’t love the animals, the animals get hurt, if we don’t love the trees they fall to the dirt // If we don’t love each human we have war, not peace, which makes the world run like it’s sick with disease
We need all living things to coexist and be balanced // Which is why we must always choose Love even when it is challenged
“I will Love them!” said Leo and he finally smiled, and he hugged the Lion, a tree and another small child // And he laughed and he played and he promised to always remember, the lessons of the lion on that day in September
I’ve been sitting on this book since I wrote it, trying to find an illustrator who aligned, aesthetically and spiritually. This Christmas while looking for cards I came across the talented illustrator Caroline from Saltwater and Feathers who fit the part. We immediately connected and she joyfully agreed to illustrate the book. The image above is the first of her creations to coincide with the first page)
If the strength of my passions were equal to the strength of my bank account I would probably do this the other way around (print the book, then sell it), but alas, the life of a freelance writer / eco-blogger is not one of great monetary fulfilment so in order to bring this book to life, I need your help.
Any money pledged will be in the form of a pre-order and will fund the first run of the books as well as the remainder of the illustrations to get this little project off the ground. You will find the various options in the perks for a printed book or digital version which you can pre-order for your little one. I’m hoping to have it completed by summer, but at the very latest, I’ll have it in your arms before the winter holiday season comes.
YOU CAN PRE-ORDER YOU COPY OR COPIES HERE: https://igg.me/at/LeoAndTheLion/x/7827370
I don’t normally ask for readers to share my posts (though I’m always grateful when you do!) But I would be so honoured if you could share using the buttons below with anyone who you might think find this book interesting and be willing to fund its final steps of creation through pre-orders.