Chris Buczinsky,a complete stranger to me at the time, accompanied his brother to the school where I worked (Sprague School in Lincolnshire, Illinois) for a school assembly. Chris took the time later that day to give me constructive criticisms (that I asked for!) about my book. Chris's bravery in giving it to me straight and pointing out the glaring flaws in the earliest version of my book helped me to go back to the drawing board and begin the long and tedious process of tweaking and improving my poetry and illustrations. I am forever in his debt!
My daughter Rachelle then took up the baton. She was an English major in college and is an outstanding writer herself. Her red pen helped me recognize my early poetic inadequacies in maintaining stressed and unstressed accents in their proper placement, undetected (by me) grammatical mistakes, and other poetry trip ups.
My daughter Becky spent many, many hours putting color to the first illustrations of my book. It was those illustrations that I sent to the publisher when I submitted my book for consideration. Those illustrations, I was told, were one of the strong reasons that this publisher chose my book. Her color choices and artistic style heavily influenced my final illustrations that are actually the ones you will see in the book!
My sister Mary and her husband Curt, both helped me see the bigger potential for my book. Mary is one of my biggest cheerleaders and, since she has a publishing background herself, was one of the most hands-on participants in making my book become polished and professional and ready to submit for publication. Curt is one of the greatest dream-casters that I have ever personally known. His enthusiasm for my book and his willingness to get behind it are greatly appreciated and extremely motivational.