Hope by Kealy Connor Lonning
What do you HOPE for your children? Do you hope for them to be kind? To be strong and brave? To be happy and grateful? To be curious and wise? To feel loved and secure?
HOPE is a beautiful, inspirational book that explores these traits, and values, that parents hope that their children will embrace. Sweet rhyming text, and gorgeous, captivating illustrations, show heartwarming glimpses of real-life situations.
Jose and I try to be intentional parents. We raise our children in a way that echoes our values and matches the hope and aspirations we have for our children’s future.
There have been many times where I catch myself staring at my kids and wondering and imagining what they will be like. Will they play sports? Will they be a leader or a follower? Will we have a close relationship with one another?
As parents, there are so many hope and aspirations we have that affect the way we raise our kids. We hope our children will be kind. We hope our kids will walk in faith. We hope our kids will have a healthy bond that lasts a lifetime. We hope they serve others. We hope they learn forgiveness. And most importantly, we hope they will learn from our mistakes and do better.
Of course, there is always a children’s book that can help bridge the gap of talking about goals, dreams, and hopes to our children. Hope by Kealy Connor Lonning is a wonderful and inspirational book that explores those qualities and characteristics that we only hope our children will embrace. This sweet picture book is filled with rhyming text that will fill your child’s mind with optimism while presenting them with heartfelt looks of real-life situations. This wonderful book allows parents to discuss the incredible life lessons in this book and all that we hope for them.
Each page is filled with different challenges and emotions that a child may go through during their lifetime. This picture book teaches children to use mindfulness and positivity to get through hard times and persevere.
This book teaches children to find their inner strength and resilience, to help them experience joy, love, confidence, courage, and peace, and the importance of feeling grateful and blessed.
Hope is a very beautifully illustrated children’s book. Every illustration is engaging. Each page is cleverly illustrated to include the author’s family and dogs, notable illustrations to match the book’s themes, and specific colors to symbolize her messages.
HOPE is the perfect picture book for children and adults alike. This charming book can empower kids to believe in themselves, make the world a better place, and always have HOPE! It will make a great addition to your bookshelf.
What do you HOPE for your children?
Where Can I Find "Hope?"
Other books by Kealy Connor Lonning
About the Author, Kealy Connor Lonning
“Kealy Connor Lonning is an author of children’s books, a mom to six kids, and was a teacher for 32 years. She has a master’s degree in education/reading, and a bachelor’s degree in elementary/early childhood education. Kealy grew up in a small Iowa town, with amazing parents. She and her two younger sisters had an awesome childhood!
After college, Kealy married her high school classmate, and they lived in Iowa and Wisconsin, raising their six children. In 2015, they moved with 4 of their 6 kids, from Iowa to New Jersey, near New York City, so their boy/girl twins could chase their dreams! Their oldest son was grown, and their older daughter was in college.
After two years in NJ, their twins moved to NYC. Kealy and her husband knew that their two younger biracial girls, would benefit from the diversity in NJ. They are raising them to be kind and brave, and to follow their dreams, like their four older siblings.”
Rapid Fire with Kealy Connor Lonning
Q. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
Kealy: I think I have always wanted to be a writer of some sort. I have always loved to read, write, draw, and create, even as a little girl, and they all go together. I believe our life’s experiences, starting with childhood, shape, and inspire our writing.
I grew up in a small Iowa town, with amazing parents and two younger sisters. We had a fabulous childhood filled with love, fun, literacy, and learning. My parents were college-educated. My mom was a registered nurse, and my dad was a teacher for some years, and his areas were English and History.
Both parents were avid readers, and our home was filled with books. Our dad read the classics to us when we were kids. My grandpa was an author, and in first grade, I read his first book, a thick novel. I also started reading the newspaper that year, and have loved going to the library, my whole life.
Growing up, I liked reading non-fiction books, biographies of strong women, and encyclopedias. I kept a diary, created a lot of poetry, and wrote in travel journals on family trips.
I continued reading, writing, and researching through the years, college, and beyond. I have always loved picture books, especially after becoming a teacher and a mom. I wrote my first real manuscript for a children’s book when our oldest son was a toddler. I started to pursue getting it published, but life got too busy, and my dream was put on hold for about 30 years.
Q. What does your family think of your writing?
Kealy: A few years ago, I retired from 32 years of teaching after moving with 4 of our 6 kids from Iowa to New Jersey. Our oldest son was grown and lived on a Belize island. We had to leave our older daughter, who was in college in Iowa.
Our boy/girl twins graduated from high school and wanted to chase their dreams in NYC. We knew our 2 youngest kids–biracial girls would benefit from living in diverse NJ. So, we left our lives and families. Our twins lived with us in NJ for two years and then moved to NYC.
In the fall of 2018, I joined a Facebook group for authors, and I learned about self-publishing. It changed my life! I worked on my first book and got it published that December! Only my illustrator, editor, and husband knew about it. It was a secret from my family, including our kids. My husband loves my books and supports my writing.
The book was inspired by our oldest son, and it shows him growing up to follow his dreams. I shared the book with him long distance, and he was very touched and cried so hard by phone! He loved the book!
The next day, we left for the 1000 mile drive with 4 of our kids to Iowa for Christmas. I had ordered books for our kids and relatives, and I wrapped them in shiny gold paper. I presented my special books to all of them! They were very surprised and excited, as they knew it was a dream of mine! Our big girl was there, and my mom, one sister, and family, etc. They all loved it! I surprised my husband’s side of the family, too, with my books.
Sadly, my dad had passed away that year and never got to see me become a published author. He would be so proud of me, just like the rest of my family.
My children inspire my writing, and they all figured that I would be putting them into stories. I did do that, and when I showed them the books, there were lots of laughs and tears.
Q. What was the most surprising thing you learned about creating books?
Kealy: The fun part of creating books is the writing part, and working with an illustrator to bring my words to life! It is work, but truly rewarding and exciting! The part that surprised me the most is the marketing part.
I figured I would publish my books, and with a bit of advertising, people would easily keep buying them. I think promoting books is the hardest part of being an author, and it is an ongoing thing to learn about new ways to do it. Creating books is a lot of hard work, but I think the business part is even harder.
Q. What advice do you have for writers?
Kealy: My advice for writers is to write when you can and keep writing. I don’t think I could have fit it in when I was a full-time teacher and raising all of our kids. Now I am retired and have 2 of our 6 kids still at home. I also think it would be very hard to be an author while your children are babies or toddlers. But even so, some people still make it happen. If you want to try it, carve out some time each day to write and to work on author stuff.
Also, learn all you can about publishing, marketing, etc. Look at many children’s books, read articles, watch videos online, do workshops, and join author groups. Get connected to other authors and illustrators for support. It is so beneficial to help each other by answering questions, getting feedback, following each other on social media, etc. They understand the work that it takes to be an author. I have learned more than I ever thought possible, and I continue to learn more every day.
Q. Describe what your ideal writing space looks like?
Kealy: I mainly work in our living room, on my laptop, on my couch. We are in a small NJ city. I envision an ideal writing space in NE Iowa, near my small hometown, out in the country.
I would love an acreage and a house with a view of the beautiful, rolling hills that change colors with the seasons. Love seeing the wide-open farmland, with fields of corn, barns, farm animals, and streams. It is very peaceful there. I guess I am missing my home state right now!
Q. What do you like to do when you are not writing?
Kealy: I spend most of my time writing, promoting my books, connecting on social media with authors, and my audience, working with my illustrator and my formatter, etc. I am glad that I have time to do this now after I retired from teaching.
Greg and I have been raising kids for over 33 years! We have loved watching them compete in sports and perform on stage. Our kids are spread out in age from 8 to 33! We have 4 biological children, and the last two were each adopted as newborns.
Our lives have revolved around all of them–busy kids! We have been to hundreds of various ball games, meets, plays, choir, band, and orchestra concerts, dance recitals, school meetings, church meetings, and the list goes on! 🙂 Our oldest son and daughter also competed in college sports. We still have 2 girls at home, so we are not done yet!
We sometimes go to NYC to see our twins perform or to Iowa, to see our big girl coach college basketball. We did all get to the Belize island, once, to visit our oldest son.
I try to exercise daily. I love to read and research online. I love photography, beautiful books, poetry, history, genealogy, art, dancing, music, watching sports, and movies. I like libraries, museums, and historical sites. I love visiting our rural Iowa hometown to see our people.
Q. What inspires you as a writer?
Kealy: Our six beautiful, awesome children inspire me to write. Seeing the world through their eyes reminded me that the simple wonders of childhood are magical. Our kids are multi-talented, and we are super proud! We are blessed to be their parents, and they are our legacy. We have raised them to be strong, kind, brave, and grateful.
Letting them grow up is bittersweet, but we hope that our “champions” will chase their dreams and change the world! That is what I try to show in my books!
I am also inspired to write from my glorious childhood. Our amazing parents gave my two sisters and me a life full of love, compassion, courage, fun, learning, and hope. They taught us to care for people, animals, and the Earth. Some other lessons from them: defend the oppressed, celebrate diversity, and have a grateful heart.
Q. What type of books do you write?
Kealy: My children’s books are heartfelt, inspirational, and beautiful! I love the illustrations from my talented illustrator. The rhyming text is fun to read and important for emergent literacy. My picture books show how simple childhood pleasures are magical, and they applaud the power of family love. I believe my books are heartwarming, timeless, and uplifting, and they promote diversity and inclusion.
I hope that they inspire kids to be kind, strong, brave, grateful, and happy! I want my books to empower children to believe in themselves, develop a growth mindset, and use their imaginations. I love it when adults tell me that my books have touched their hearts and/or made them cry.
They can relate to the stories as they reminisce about their childhoods or think about raising their children. I hope that my books will spark discussions in homes and classrooms and help kids learn social skills, develop mindfulness, and dream big!
Q. Can you tell us about one of the most rewarding moments you have had as an author?
Kealy: A big thrill was getting to hold my first published book in my hands! Each book after that one is also a great feeling! Other highlights were surprising my kids and family with my books!
I think it is also very rewarding to see other children reading and liking my books. I loved doing author visits at schools where I had taught or where my kids attended. It was also fun to speak at my Iowa hometown library.
The staff and students at schools made me feel so special! In one classroom, the children lined up for my autograph! As a child, I remember what a magical thing it was to meet a “real” author in person!
Q. Are you working on anything at the present that you would like to share with your readers about?
Kealy: Yes–I am currently working on a book about kindness! I also have been writing the other three seasons books to go with my summer book that is already published. The first manuscript that I wrote over 30 years ago was about spring and was inspired by my oldest son. I revised it a bit and will include it in my season series. I am always thinking about and working on other stories, and I can hardly keep up with the many ideas in my brain! 🙂
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All in all, my family and I have really enjoyed this book and we know you will too! Please feel free to leave me any comments or questions about this review. I look forward to hearing from you!
* This book was kindly sent to me by Author, Kealy Connor Lonning in exchange for an honest review.