Children’s book author Ludlow writes about safety
“How do I love you? Let me count the paths.
To these immortal words about Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s love can be added these words of love from Ludlow author Kathy J. Picard: “I love you so much that …”
This is the title of his new children’s book which was a dream of his life.
âI wanted to write and publish the book that should have been read before my experience unfolded,â she said, referring to childhood sexual abuse. âChildren are more likely to connect the dots when more information is made available to them. The unknown that causes fear – talking or reading about personal safety removes that fear and starts the conversation that should continue throughout our lives, âshe said. âIf we’re starting early with other important necessities like medical exams and the concept of sharing, why delay teaching a child about safetyâ¦? Sharing these concepts often and early helps build a solid foundation of trust.
Picard is an independent child safety advocate and owner of Lake Town Publishing LLC, publisher of the book.
âNo one knows as a survivor all the effects of trauma caused by childhood sexual abuse,â she said. âThe only thing we know is what wasn’t there that we desperately needed. Whether spoken, read, or shown, the victim needs to feel that she matters, that she is valuable, and that she is loved and cared for. Whenever they are raped, they are shown (and maybe told) that they are worthless, that they don’t matter, and that love is about the abuser’s desire.
Picard wrote a story that clearly explains the basic concepts that communicate their value, importance, and the behavior of love.
“Almost everyone has someone in their life who acts as a beacon of hope, and for me that was my special Aunt Judi,” she explained. âShe was the light in my way when I thought there was no way through the dark. She played a role not only in my survival, but also the reason why I learned to keep pushing forward to look for something better.
As soon as children are able to speak, Picard recommends that parents start telling their children to beware of adults who might harm them. âJust as parents teach children to stay away from mean dogs, so they need to educate strangers. Saying ‘no’ is okay when they are in a prejudicial situation, âshe said. âMost don’t like to talk about the subject of abusers, but these days we have to. “
Picard recounted her story in âLife with My Idiot Family, A True Story of Survival, Courage, and Justice regarding Childhood Sexual Abuse,â written with her 24-year-old husband Gary.
âMy book documents my experience to show all survivors that above all else, they are not alone,â she said. âSecond, it proves that being traumatized is not a death sentence if they can find their voice, speak their truth and hold those responsible to account. It is a road map of a journey, but written as an invitation to anyone else who is on the same path so that they can continue until they come to a place of healing.
It seems different for every survivor, she added, but acceptance, growth, courage and self-love are the common threads in healing from one of life’s most horrific experiences.
Picard’s latest book is aimed at children ages 3 to 10 to teach them “the whys” – the common things in their life that they should do and the reasons.
âIt helps determine why a child might be asked to brush their teeth, go out or go to bed at a certain time. It’s part of the framework to build this story, âshe said. “Why” or “How come? Is a universal response from a child when asked to do something they don’t quite understand and / or don’t like. The structure of the story allows the reader / listener to know the reason for a parent or guardian’s request, to help them understand how love has substance, responsibility, expectations – the whole thing with positive results. Hopefully this starts a visual dialogue that begins to understand how to take care of yourself and others and what it looks like.
A native of Springfield and a graduate of the former Cathedral High School in 1981, Picard has worked in the travel and insurance industries and has received numerous awards for his advocacy work, including the William Pynchon Award, the of Missing Children Magi & John Bish, the Founders Day Award from Quaboag. Valley Zonta Club and Unsung Heroine Award from the Massachusetts House of Representatives.
Picard is present in colleges, hospitals, correctional facilities, daycares and book clubs.
âI love you so much thatâ¦â is available in paperback and hardcover. It’s 40 pages long and costs $ 8.95 via Amazon, $ 18.95 via Barnes and Noble, and $ 49.95 via Bridgeport Bindery (Extended & Signed Collector’s Edition). Illustrator is D. Louise Nicholson of Ashfield.
Staff at Palmer, Chicopee and St. John the Baptist School in Ludlow invited Picard to read the children’s book to their students or to place the book in schools.
For more information: [email protected]