Local authors publish children’s bedtime book

Deegan James and the book cover he’s on. Photo provided.

Local authors Megan Howe, Megan James and Marilou Howe wrote a children’s book entitled “Goodnight, Little You.”
They are all related. Megan James is Marilou’s daughter; Megan Howe is her daughter-in-law.
“I used to be Megan Howe,” Megan James explained.
“So I stole her name,” Meagan Howe joked.
The three authors had been learning a lot about meditation and realized there are not many books on meditation for young children.
Megan Howe recalls when she was a teacher at Clear Lake Elementary, “I didn’t have a lot of tools. Now they have meditation there but I didn’t have a lot of tools to not only help me de-stress but help the kids. School is way more stressful on kids nowadays than it used to be with testing and just a lot of higher expectations.”
They think books like this will help kids cope with stress. But they can help anyone.
“We’re getting feedback from parents that this is relaxing them. As they are reading to their kids, they’re feeling better too.” Marilou said.
“Goodnight, Little You” is a guided relaxation meditation to help youngsters fall asleep. “Inside each of us, lives a little you. And every night . . . he has an important job to do,” the book narrates. It’s about this “little you” helping a restless little boy turn off all the lights in his body so he can go to sleep.
Megan Howe remembers when she was little and couldn’t sleep, her father, Lee McCully, would have her lay down in bed and pretend a little person who lived in her foot would help her “turn off the lights” in her body.
“We would turn off all the lights starting at my toes, then my ankles, then my knees, then he would go back down and make sure everything was asleep and then he would go to my hips and on up. I would fall asleep really fast,” she said.
Years later, through learning about meditation, she realized that this was actually a meditation technique.
Megan James pointed out that even the military teaches this technique. “In the military they learn how to shut each part of their body down because it’s so stressful.”
Megan Howe didn’t tell her father they were writing the book, because she wanted to surprise him. “I was going to surprise him by giving him a copy of the book but he got ill pretty quick,” she said.
The book was published the day he passed away.
“I was able to read the digital copy of the book to him a few hours before he passed and it was touching because at the very end the book tells you ‘now you can drift off to sleep’ and that you’re comfortable. He would always give that gift to me when I was younger to help me go to sleep and it was so nice to be able to give that back to him,” Megan Howe said.
“At the funeral they read the book and it was beautiful,” Marilou said. Everyone at the funeral had a copy, and they were asked to sign it.
“Goodnight, Little You” is dedicated to Megan Howe’s father, Lee McCully. “Thank you for teaching me this when I needed it the most,” the dedication.
Three authors collaborating together might sound difficult, but they say it was quick an easy. They all have a role to play. Marilou comes up with the topics and ideas and organizes everyone. Then the ideas go to Megan Howe who meditates on them, then quickly etches out the words in verse. Finally it goes to Megan James to translate what Megan Howe wrote into images.
The book is whimsically illustrated like oil paintings reminiscent of Van Gogh. “I would have to say it’s a very dreamy relaxing style,” Megan James said. In fact, Megan James does everything digitally in Photoshop based on photos she takes. The photographs feature her son, Deegan, as the main character. They had fun shooting the photos when they moved his bed outside to the backyard by their log pile.
The paperback book was published through Amazon’s self-publishing company, Kindle Direct Publishing on October 17, 2019. For now, the book can only be purchased directly through Amazon, but the authors hope to get it in local shops and in schools.
“Our main goal is to get this book into the hands of as many kids as possible. Especially kids that need it. Those inner city kids, every kid, all kids,” Marilou said.
So far they have only advertised through social media and word of mouth, but the reception has been positive.
“It’s very emotional to create something and to have people say that their children love it. It just makes your heart full, it’s so wonderful. We just want to make a difference in the world, from our little Oxford town,” Marilou said.
“Goodnight, Little You” is just the beginning. The authors plan to write many more books on mindfulness for children. Their next book, tentatively titled “Happy Seeds,” is all about the power of words. They expect to finish it in a few days.
This time, Megan James needed a lot more children to photograph. Marilou suggested they look at old family pictures. So they used childhood photos of themselves morphed together alongside their children so they are all about the same age.
A link to purchase the books can be accessed through their website, howekind.com.

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