Tuesday, November 20, 2018

"Your Heart is So Big" by Gillian Jaeger

Your Heart is So Big:
Dogs Can Give Back
by Gillian Jaeger

Your Heart is So Big: Dogs Can Give Back by Gillian Jaeger

Author Gillian Jaeger stops by for today an interview and to share an excerpt from her children’s book Your Heart is So Big: Dogs Can Give Back. You can also read my review and enter our exclusive giveaway for a chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card.

After being abandoned, a loving and clever dog named Shane is rescued by a stranger who helps him find a new home. Though he enjoys his new life, the dog is determined to find Jack, the man who rescued him, to thank him for his wonderful life. It turns out that Jack needed Shane’s help just as Shane once needed Jack – and Shane is all too happy to help his new friend.
This is a powerful story about love, compassion and giving back to those in need – perfect for sharing with children this holiday season as we reflect on how we can help others.
Wonderful story for this holiday season!
The characters in this story are compassionate, warm, and diverse. The illustrations are vibrant and eye-catching.


Praise for the Book
“I love this story, it teaches children about kindness and giving back. It is especially heartwarming this time of the year to share to children. I am a Children's Occupational Therapist working with children that have physical and emotional challenges, I shared this story with them, they love Shane and the illustrations were captivating.” ~ Jan Smith
“As animal lovers your children are going to love this book! Teaches such a great lesson of compassion and helping others. What a great gift especially for the holidays!” ~ MelissaSwan
“Great book that teaches kids Morals. I would recommend this book to every child.” ~ Rebecca E Traish
“Kids and Adults will love this warm and compassionate story filled with unconditional love, kindness, humanity and compassion. You will fall in love with Shane! The illustration is amazing!” ~ Vernell W. Razor
“This book is a heart felt, easy read. I purchased a copy for my granddaughter. I encourage anyone with young children, and for all who love dogs, to get a copy.” ~ Wayne Reid

My Review
I received this book in return for an honest review.

By Lynda Dickson
The opening page of this book (shown in the excerpt above) reminds me of Red Dog, after John dies. So sad. But things improve for this poor dog. He gets adopted by a loving family and is given the name Shane. And then he gets the chance to repay the kindness everyone has shown him.
The illustrations are bright and colorful, and I love the diversity of the characters. However, in the copy I read, some of the text is hard to read and would be more readable in a different font. The names “Jack” and “Jake” are also too similar and might cause confusion among young readers.
The story delivers a powerful message, and I was surprised to learn that the title actually refers to Shane, the dog. In her introduction, the author states: “This story is inspired by our dog, Shane, who was abandoned and rescued by our family. Shane, Your Heart Is So Big! We are truly blessed to have you in our lives.” Touching stuff.

Interview With the Author
Gillian Jaeger joins me today to discuss her new children’s book, Your Heart is So Big.
For what age group do you recommend your book?
I recommend it for children ages 2 through 8.
What sparked the idea for this book?
The dog profiled in the story was rescued and has brought so much love that we would like to encourage others to rescue those in need. I am surrounded by wonderful and diverse people that do good things for each other, my hope is that sharing diverse images of people helping each other can contribute to children's development into good people.

So, which comes first? The character's story or the idea for the book?
The idea for this book came first. We live in very troubled times, I believe that we can make a difference with children through books, as they are our future.
What was the hardest part to write in this book?
Two things. First, the beginning. Shane was abandoned and was left with no food. He is such a good hearted dog that it is difficult to understand how someone could not want him. Second, Shane finding Jack and talking about their similar situations. We never know when the tides will turn, but how wonderful it is to have someone to be there for you in your time of need. 
How do you hope this book affects its readers?
I hope that people treat animals with kindness. They give so much and ask for little. I would also hope that children are inspired to be kinder to their classmates and neighbors, even when they look different.
How long did it take you to write this book?
This took about six months because of the illustrations. I wanted to bring vibrant colors into the story and to ensure that alignment with the script.
What is your writing routine?
I like to write in the early morning. I am working on two more books as we speak.
How did you get your book published?
I self-published this book through Amazon.
What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer?
Never give up. Where there is a will, there is a way. There are tremendous resources online, such as free webinars for writers to learn about publishing. I would encourage those interested in writing to use those resources. 
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I like reading or watching movies.
What does your family think of your writing?
They are happy that I have found a passion that I truly enjoy.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
As a child, I enjoyed writing short stories. As a professional, I have considered writing professional books. But there is magic and excitement that happens when I think of engaging children. 
Did your childhood experiences influence your writing?
Yes, I had a good childhood with very positive role models. Unfortunately, too many children are not in this position. Books can inspire them to be the best they can be. 
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
My readers are encouraging me to write more and to bring stories with good lessons for children to inspire them to make good choices.
What can we look forward to from you in the future?
Books about children coming together to solve problems and make good choices. Books about kindness, talking to each other, supporting, loving and accepting one another in a very global society.
Anything else you would like to add?
This is a great book to introduce children to diverse characters and to reinforce kindness to animals and others who maybe in need, especially during this holiday season.
Thank you for taking the time to stop by today, Gillian. Best of luck with your future projects.

About the Author
Gillian Jaeger
I am a retired Navy veteran and healthcare executive with twenty-seven years of active duty military service, wife and mother, and soon to be grandmother based in Northern Virginia. Teaching and helping young people to be the best they can be has always been a passion. During my naval career I had the honor of serving as an instructor, leader and mentor to many young sailors, and I am an adjunct professor at The George Washington University. I had always dreamt of writing stories that could make an impact on the lives of young people. To that end, I have decided to write children’s stories.
As a professional and as a parent, I have seen and experienced first-hand the issues of discrimination, intolerance, and lack of respect for others. As a society, we have made great strides, but there is still so much work to be done. I do believe that we can all play a small part to help society make more progress and advances in these areas. I choose to write books that are focused on bringing heart-warming stories with positive messages to children that can impact their lives. I am so happy to have you with me on this journey.
Special thanks to my husband Robert Jaeger, also a veteran, and my three children Robert, Chris, and Nicole for their love and support as I embark on this new journey. Thanks to my dear mother Valerie Reid, a true family matriarch. At eighty-five she inspires me to be resilient and never give up. Thanks to my brothers Wayne and Dale Reid and my daughter-in-law Nicole for their staunch support. I have two grand dogs – Shane and Pappi and a new grandchild on the way. They bring us so much joy and inspiration! Special thanks to my grand dogs Lenox, Bailey, and Brandy, who have passed away but will forever remain in our hearts.

Enter our exclusive giveaway for a chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card.