My inspiration for writing High In The Sky popped into my head one summer day while relaxing in my backyard with a book. I could hear the neighbour children’s excited squeals coming from the other side of the fence as they pumped higher and higher on their swings. I pictured my grandchildren and how they love to swing and dream on a swing. It also reminded me of my childhood, flying high and carefree on a tire swing. All I had to do was bend my knees and off I’d go. My imagination would take me anywhere. My mother was also in my mind when I wrote this story. She used to read the poem The Swing from the book, A Child’s Garden of Verses, by Robert Louis Stevenson. “How do you like to go up in a swing, up in the air so blue…” My mother passed away last December but I was able to read High In The Sky to her in the hospital.
How did you come up with the main characters?
For my main character, I chose an endearing, energetic child that could be a boy or a girl to appeal to a variety of readers. Like most children, my character sometimes feels like the world is too small. By hopping on top of a tire swing, the feeling of boredom and restlessness disappears. Suddenly the child can travel anywhere or become anything by using the power of imagination.
What makes your children’s book/story an interesting read, creative storytelling, and impactful (what’s unique)?
The bouncy, rhythmic text and charming pastel watercolours make High in the Sky fun to read. The adorable orange tabby cat adds humour and interest to the story as it attempts to keep up with the main character’s wildly imaginative adventures – exploring outerspace, surfing a rolling wave, riding a roller coaster – the possibilities are endless!
The tire is incorporated into the illustrations to show that the child is still riding on a tire swing. Action words such as WHOOOSH and WHEEE are animated and in bright colours to make them pop out. Neighbours depicted in the story represent many different nationalities and my two grandsons and daughter appear in one of the scenes.
I tried to capture every child’s desire for adventure and also included lots of fun and creative educational activities at the end of the book for children, parents and educators to enjoy.
The messages I hope to reveal to readers of High In The Sky are: Your imagination can take you anywhere. Believe in your dreams!
Enjoy a short book trailer:
Toronto author, Kathleen Gauer, has previously published poetry and several articles. She has also worked as a contributing associate editor for Spires Magazine (a community focus publication serving Etobicoke) for 15 years and as an arts columnist for the Etobicoke Guardian newspaper. Currently, she is a Programming Educational Assistant in Special Education with the Toronto District School Board. When not reading, writing or spending time with her grandchildren, she loves yoga, knitting and singing with “The Harmony Singers”, a local choir that performs in the Toronto area. She is also a member of CANSCAIP, The Canadian Society for Children’s Authors, Illustrators and Performers.0