Sunday, April 12, 2009

Jill Osborne, Children's Author

It’s my pleasure to have Jill Osborne as a guest today. Jill and I are members of the Facebook group Red River Writers. The group recently initiated tour events and Jill and I are participants.

Jill Osborne is a Licensed Associate Professional Counselor in the state of Georgia. She holds a Specialist in Education in Professional Counseling from Georgia State University in Atlanta, GA (2007). She is currently working counseling to families and children for Pathways Transition Programs, located in Decatur, GA. During her graduate studies she interned with a domestic violence agency for two years, and provided counseling for women and children whom were survivors of domestic violence. There she began using play therapy, and leading a support group for child survivors of domestic violence.

Jill became interested in writing for children during her internship where she often read children’s books to her clients. “Sam Feels Better Now: An Interactive Story for Children” is her first children’s writing project. It began as a project for a Traumatology class taken during her graduate studies.
Boy, Jill, that’s so interesting and what a great purpose for children’s books – to help children.

Can you tell us a little bit more about your decision to become a writer?
I decided to write children's books after reading books to my child therapy clients when I was interning at a domestic violence survivors' program. I started my first book, Sam Feels Better Now: An Interactive Story for Children, as a project during a graduate course about working with trauma survivors.

What are you currently working on?

I have been writing children's stories for about a year and a half. My other projects include non-fiction about topics related to child therapy. I am currently working on a manual on how to run a support group for child survivors of domestic violence.

What do you find is the toughest part of writing for children?
I find the toughest part of writing for children is starting the story, and also finding time to focus on writing and marketing more stories.

Now, here is a wonderful review by Stories for Children's Magazine Editor-in-chief, Virginia S. Grenier:
Sam Feels Better Now!
By: Jill Osborne
Illustrated by: Kevin Scott Collier
Published by: Loving Healing Press, 2008
ISBN: 9781932690606
Ages: 4 to 10
Reviewed by: VS Grenier, Editor-in-Chief

“Sam Feels Better Now!” is an interactive story for children. The format is very much like a picture book, but this book is geared towards helping children who have experienced trauma, psychological injury, or any form of abuse. The goal of this book is to help assist therapists or other caregivers who help children in these crisis situations. The interactive components such as drawings or story telling help children express the pain and suffering they are in or have been put through. With the story being told through Sam’s perspective, the main character, children who read this book will become a part of helping Sam to heal.

The character Sam is described as having gone through a bad experience. However, the problem Sam is trying to deal with is left unsaid. This allows children using this book to either make up a situation for Sam to heal from or place their own crisis on Sam to fix. The story begins with Sam meeting his counselor and getting comfortable with her. The interactive exercises throughout the story help Sam move forward to fix his problem and the child participates by drawing pictures that relate to the story. Sam also gets to talk about his emotions. The story continues with the child helping Sam. There are also exercises to help the child identify their own emotions and to help them get started with telling their own story.

In addition, there is a therapist guide in the back to provide adults background information and suggestions for using “Sam Feels Better Now!”

Jill Osborne’s book is an excellent resource for therapists and counselors. The illustrations by Kevin Scott Collier are encouraging with their simple kid friendly style and colorful appeal. I also feel this book would be a good tool in schools and at home because the exercises help to empower children to actively identify their own personal environment and find comfort in expressing themselves and the world around them.

Here's how to learn more about Jill or contact her:

Jill Osborne, EdS, LAPC
Covington, GA

Thanks so much, Jill, for visiting with us today. Your writing is sure to have an impact on many children's lives.

Karen Cioffi


Katie Hines said...

Interesting interview! I like the way Jill sandwiches her counseling training with a love for kids and writing. Hope you have lots of sales.

Kimberly Michalski said...

Seems as our society increases in ever complicated issues that find themselves unfortunately on the backs of young children, you have found a niche. I wish you the greatest luck, because I see a need for this specialized genre.

All best,