Introducing My Children’s Book: Ella Builds A Wall

  • DH = Dear Husband
  • DD3 = Dear third daughter

As of last Friday, I have 10 boxes full of my children’s book: Ella Builds A Wall.

Why did you write this children’s book?

I self-published a book for each of my two older daughters way back when they were young – in ’98 and ’02. I thought that within a year or two, I’d write one for our youngest (DD3) too, but in ’03, DH became unemployed, and for six years, his income was very, very low. I had to go back to work full time after having resigned to become a stay-at-home mom, so there was no time to write – and no  money to self-publish.

Soon after DH was established in a successful home business, we realized that we had to get ourselves out of debt. So again, writing a children’s book was just not a priority. DD3 was graciously accepting of this situation – until she turned 17 last year. “Mom, are you going to write a book for me before I die?” she asked me. I decided the time had come. I would not teach summer school in July and August of 2016 – as I had every year since our journey out of debt had begun in 2012 – I would devote the summer to writing DD3’s book.

How did you justify the expense of self-publishing?

In the summer of 2016, we were approaching a significant milestone in our debt repayment. From an original grand total of $257,000, we were nearing the $100,000 mark, and our debt would go from 6 figures to 5. “Let’s do something awesome for ourselves,” DH suggested. “Is there something you really want?” So the expense was taken care of. While DH bought himself a Taylor guitar, I had the green light for my children’s book. I had not been able to focus on writing it up until that point. Once I knew the money would be there, I was able to write it.

What is the book about?

Last spring, when I first started to think about the story I would write for DD3, Trump’s wall talk was everywhere. I got the idea to write about a child who learns the subtleties of wall building. Ella starts karate class after being bullied in the school yard. Her wise karate instuctor, Sensei Jordan, teaches Ella how to build the right kind of wall when a bully attacks, but she also helps her to recognize when not to build walls – and when to take them down.

Did you do the illustrations?

I wish! The illustrations were prepared by a graduate of the high school where I teach. I remember once helping to supervise a field trip with the art teacher who was taking 2 classes to an art gallery downtown. When it was time to return to the school, all of the students gathered in the lobby and we did a head count. Someone was missing! The art teacher took attendance and realized it was Sarah. While the rest of the group left with their teacher, I stayed and waited as security guards looked for our missing student. Sarah was soon found, so lost in her drawing that she had been oblivious to the time.

Sarah draws as often as some people her age text. She can’t help herself. And I’m so grateful for her work.

What age group is the book written for?

Ella Builds A Wall is for children aged about 6 to 9.

What impact might it have on your personal finances?

It will almost certainly have a good impact. The money that I spent to self-publish the book is not money that I have to repay. DH and I gave each other a large discretionary cash amount, and it (almost) covered the whole cost of our respective splurges. So if I don’t sell any books, very little harm done.

On the other hand, every book I do sell means that my discretionary account gets a boost. Anyone who has followed our progress out of debt so far knows that my Achilles heel in our personal finances has been my discretionary fund. While DH and I have progressed forward together in our shared finances, my own personal account has been the place where all of my old financial faults have resided. Ugly truth:my discretionary account has been in the red for well over a year now. I’m talking many hundreds of dollars here, not thousands – not enough to sink the ship. Still, it’s an area of stubborn failure.

But maybe that’s about to change.

Can blog-readers buy your book?

Certainly! The book costs $15 CAD (a little over $11.00 USD). There are two ways to buy it:

  1. Let me know in the comments and I’ll send you an email. I’d need your address and you’d need my Paypal account info. I will not charge a shipping fee.
  2. Buy directly from the Essence Online Book Store.

How does this book fit in with your journey out of debt?

For me, although this book is not in any way about personal finances, it symbolizes the opportunity that greater health in personal finances offers. For years, we were stuck in financial stress. We had very little freedom to pursue some of the things that for us make life full. Now that we are in far better financial shape than we’ve ever been in before, doors of possibility are opening.

The back cover of Ella Builds A Wall.

No pressure to buy! I just wanted to share the news of my book. Your comments are welcome : ) 


19 comments on “Introducing My Children’s Book: Ella Builds A Wall

  1. Congratulations Ruth and DD3! What a wonderfully generous way to spend your money. I think your “failure”, as you unfortunately call it, is actually a reflection of your generosity towards others. May God bless this endeavor. 🙂

    1. Kay, I don’t really mind the way you consider my indebted discretionary account as it excuses all of my lack of discipline : ) There are some generous impulses behind the fund’s sorry state – but there are less noble spending patterns too. I feel this endeavor is blessed already. Thank you for your good wishes!

  2. Congrats again on the book! Didn’t you do a mini preview of it or is this just a deja vu? My brain is getting so old…. 🙂

    Send me an email, I’d like to get a copy or 2 as well.

    1. No, your brain is in fine shape. I did repeat quite a bit of what I’d already said a month ago when the book trailer came out. Now that the book itself is here, I just had to say it all over again : ) Thank you, Mr. SSC! I’ll send you an email this weekend to follow up.

    1. It’s been exactly 5 years of debt-reduction, and this book feels like a great anniversary gift. Thank you for your comment, LT : )

  3. Congrats on the book Ruth! I think that is so special that you wrote a book for each of your daughters 🙂 Something they will treasure for a lifetime!

    1. Thank you, Mackenzie : ) I didn’t realize how important it was until DD3 put the pressure on me a year ago to write her story already.

  4. I would say congratulations, but I think “Good job on the hard work” may be more appropriate! 🙂 Have you considered donating a copy or two to your local library to drum up some local interest?

    1. Thanks for that suggestion, Cheryl. I’ll be devoting my July and August to drumming up interest. (I’m a teacher who won’t be teaching summer school this year.) I have plenty of ideas – and the library is certainly one of them – but not much time right now. I have the book in 3 local book stores – including a Chapters/Indigo where I did a reading and signing over the weekend. I’m hoping for several more such events over the weeks ahead. (And you’re right – congratulations aren’t quite in order here, but I’m happy to accept your “Good job” : )

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