News-Sun photo by LARRY LEVEY Millie Richmond has written two books geared for children: ÔHildy' and ÔDaddy's Gone.'
published: Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Local author's two books help children deal with loss
By LARRY LEVEY
SEBRING - Hildy, a 9-year-old, is losing her hearing, a fact she tries to hide from her friends (including her "most best friend"), classmates, teachers and family. With the help she finally gets she's "ready to take on even the class bully."
Another child, this one a young boy is also trying to deal with loss - the death of his father. "How am I supposed to be feeling?" he seems to be saying.
Loss: of hearing, of a loved one, through the eyes of a child. This is the world explored by local author Millie Richmond in her two books. The first, published in 2010, is called, "Hildy." The second, published earlier this year, is, "Daddy's Gone."
While these books are written for children, Richmond, who recently retired after 41 years as an elementary classroom teacher and reading specialist, quickly points out both books have a message for adults: "to get them to look at things through a child's eyes."
"In 'Hildy,'" says Richmond, "adults didn't pick up on her hearing loss until things reach a dramatic point. 'Daddy's Gone,' is about how only too often, a child is told how he should feel. The book shows how he does feel."
Richmond also talks about how her early experiences contributed to the writing of these two books. "I had hearing loss after college, but surgery and hearing aids helped a lot. And because I was older, I didn't have to go through any bullying. But things happened to me I could make into a situation in the book.
"My dad died when I was in high school. That planted a seed. I never forgot how I felt. Those feelings became part of 'Daddy's Gone.' My hope is it will help little kids who have to deal with the loss of a loved one. The intent of the book is to empower kids, that they be allowed to feel whatever they want to feel. The role of the adult is to help support their feelings and help them deal with the loss. A lot of kids don't know to ask for help. They just keep it inside."
While Richmond is retired from teaching, she's not retired from writing.
"I now have three things going at the same time: two picture books and a sequel to 'Hildy.' I've gotten a lot of feedback from kids saying please write another 'Hildy' book."
She's just completed another manuscript -- with the working title of "Papa's Promise" -- for middle-graders.
"I'm now trying to locate an agent to take it on and find a publisher," she said. "It's the story of my grandmother emigrating from Russia with her two small daughters in the early 1900s. The story is told through the eyes of one of the daughters."
Richmond is outspoken about her love of writing.
"I like playing with words, trying to say something in a way that's never been said before. There aren't any new stories, just unlimited ways of telling those stories."
She also talks about the help her husband gives her as she's writing. "I bounce ideas off Bill and he makes sure I stay focused. He's my in-house editor. It's like having a private critique."
Asked to comment on e-books, like Kindle or Nook, Richmond says, "They have their place and they're not going away. But you don't have to give up the old-style book or the e-books. You can have them both."
But, she says with a smile, "There's nothing like curling up on the couch with one of my granddaughters ... and a delicious book!"
Small Banner Ads