Wisconsin children’s book author Barbara Joosse is writing a holiday book for ‘quirky’ kids

Children’s book author Barbara Joosse with Santa Claus at the Port Washington Historical Society on December 4

Longtime children’s book author Barbara Joosse has always had a thing for “quirky and quirky” kids who don’t feel like everyone else.

“But really, it’s most kids,” she said.

This got Joosse thinking about what Santa Claus would be like as a kid. With his rosy cheeks and round belly, he probably wouldn’t have looked like the other kids.

“As a little boy, Santa Claus wouldn’t fit in at all, and yet he grew up to be our Christmas hero,” she said.

The Port Washington author wrote about Clausie learning to embrace her individuality in her latest book, “Just be Claus.” The book is available on Amazon and signed copies are available from Boswell Book Company, 2559 N Downer Ave., Milwaukee.

“Just Be Claus” is Joosse’s 55th published book for children. Originally from Grafton, she started storytelling in elementary school and later studied creative writing at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. After having her own children, she was inspired by them to write children‘s books.

As an author, Joosse tries to write about complicated emotions like not fitting in. She hopes that children (and adults) who read her books will have hope.

“I’m really in touch with that vulnerable part of the person, and I treat her very gently and with respect, and I make her feel good about herself,” she said.

“These weird characteristics are really the things that make us, us,” she said.

For Christmas shoppers still looking for gifts for the young readers in their lives, there has been some interest in holiday titles, said Jen Steele, bookseller at Boswell Book Company.

In addition to “Just Be Claus,” Steele had some children’s book recommendations for shoppers. The store’s current best-selling children’s book is called “The Littlest Yak,” which is about an adventurous yak who learns lessons about individuality and self-esteem.

Other titles Steele recommends include “The Robin and the Fir Tree,” which she says is a “beautiful book,” and “The Real Santa,” a book about a black family discovering what Santa Claus looks like.

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As Christmas approaches, Joosse prepares for a visit from his grandchildren. She is going to read “Just Be Claus” to her grandchildren for the first time during the holidays.

“(Clausie) is a quirky, creative little boy. My three kids were like that, and my grandkids are like that. I wanted to tell them what I told Clausie,” she said.

Contact Alex Groth at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at @grothalexandria.

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This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Wisconsin children’s book author Barbara Joosse writes vacation book

Grover Z. Barnes