Ellia and Sunrise: My Daughter the Seven-Year-Old Author

Ellia the elephant wanted to be as good as all her brothers and sisters, but still couldn’t figure out how to do that. And then one day, when she got lost from the herd, a fairy appeared in front of her. The fairy asked her, “Having any troubles?”

“Yes, I am,” said Ellia. “I want to be as good and as fast as my brothers and sisters and friends.”

“Ah,” said the fairy, “I think you might be trying too hard to do what other people like. And things aren’t going the way you like. Just be yourself,” said the fairy,

And so she did.

And then, when she did that, she was able to catch up with the pack, and she was able to do things as well as her brothers and sisters, and she was just much better.

And then, she got lost again. And she saw the sparkles that she had seen when the fairy had come before. She knew it would be close to the last time. And the fairy came, and said, “You are doing a very good job, but try to do something more; try and add something to what others do. Do something beyond that.”

So the next day, when she went out to play at the watering hole with her brothers and sisters, she did something no other elephant had done before—she went deep into the water and she stuck up her trunk like a snorkel, and she was breathing! And no other elephant in the herd had done that before!

And then, she came up. She smiled, because she could tell the fairy was about to appear again. When she did, something was different about her. She did a flip.

“Nice flip,” said Ellia.

‘Thanks,” said the fairy, “just working on it.”

And then she waved her wand, and Ellia had a golden crown. She was amazed. The fairy said, “You are now the princess.” And she was.

From that day on, she was always doing something more than the rest of the herd was doing.

That process of taking a risk, trying to create something and put it in the world, is exactly the story of what it takes to attempt to be an author and have courage doing so.

I’m Elli’s father, Evan Stuart.

I took the raw audio transcript of the story above that Elli told her stuffed animals at bedtime, and this basically became the text for the children’s book we are working on together. The awesome thing about doing this exercise is that I realized from the audio recording that I misunderstood a few key details of hers, went back several times, and basically saw clearly now that her first spoken version was much better than mine.

So I have changed a few things to match her vision, plus finished up the video and the overall plan for Kickstarter. The foundation of the story shows, through my daughter’s innocent expression, that it is okay to go your own way in the world and be outside the herd, and that when you do so, higher forces can arrive and conspire to help you.

I have created all the artwork for this book, along with getting the help of a Photoshop artist and colorist for the final steps, and if we have a successful Kickstarter campaign, my daughter and I will do a limited physical and digital publication of our book, Ellia and Sunrise.

Kickstarter forces one to have a plan as well as a project, define straightforward steps, and then take action to actually create something. It requires a lot of behind-the-scenes work. One way or the other, if I can have a good experience with my daughter and look back on something that we can both be proud of, that will be a victory—whether this crowdfunding reaches its goal or not.

This is a now-or-never time for me to personally to do this, a crossroads where our culture struggles between hope or fear in the face of change. If you want to visit the Kickstarter and help support Ellia and Sunrise, we are extremely grateful and excited to make you a part of our journey: http://kck.st/2jEYnWB

Elli and Evan Stuart

About the Author | Elli and Evan Stuart

Elli Stuart is a 7-year-old going on 15 who is the love of her father Evan's life. She is a natural storyteller who loves bunnies and animals, and swimming in rivers. She lives in Portland, Oregon. Her birthday is on Cinco De Mayo, and she has been promised that there will be balloons and a band playing somewhere on that day for the rest of her life. Evan Stuart is a filmmaker and illustrator, as well as co-author of Ellia and Sunrise. As a dad, he is just trying to keep up with his daughter's love and light. This is their first book project together.

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