Prairieville’s great-grandmother takes on challenge to write first children’s book during pandemic | Ascension
Do animals pray? Or are they just preying? It was an interesting subject brought up by Prairieville’s first author, Donna Braud.
Since high school, Braud, 79, known as Mimi for her 22 grandchildren and one great-grandchild, dreams of becoming a writer. Prayer has been at the center of his life. And she has always loved animals. So when Braud had more free time and saw how scary and isolated people COVID-19 was, she wanted to make a difference. Maybe a positive children’s book would do just that.
In a phone interview, you can hear him throwing birdseed at the birds outside and “talking” to them. There’s a bluebird and a mockingbird chirping around the grass and trees right now, but Braud often has all kinds of feathered friends. She gave up on bird feeders because the squirrels kept emptying them. But there was a time when she worshiped them too.
As a Kentucky girl, she opened her metal screen door every day and fed the squirrels outside. However, one day the door did not close. Braud looked around to see a squirrel standing patiently behind her, so she gave him her nut. After all, he was wise.
As he grew older, Braud had a fairly active social life with people: keno with the girls, bridge with friends, and dominoes. She has also traveled extensively in Europe. Shoped around town. Now his doctor, his store, his life scrolls up and down La 73 in the Dutchtown district. That is, when Braud dares to go out with a mask because she is diabetic. She has also been vaccinated against COVID and is planning a booster as well. âI plan to stay alive,â she said. Her daughter often brings her groceries and lunch.
Braud had a little dachshund named Dobby which she bought about a year after her divorce from her first husband, but the dog died in an accident. She never bought another one. The couple had six children. Then she remarried and her second husband had six children. All were from middle school to high school. One is an engineer in Germany now, but Braud cannot visit during COVID restrictions. A now adult stepson and his wife were hospitalized for some time with the coronavirus, but have recovered. Braud is therefore pretty much alone now.
âEverything is so negative now with COVID. Everything I see on TV or read is, and my prayer list grew longer by the day, âBraud said. I know, I thought, I had dreamed of writing a book for 59 years, it was time to make my dream come true. So I wondered, but of course I knew, if animals pray, then I wrote this little book. “
âI have to think that animals are looking at people, and they probably see how we’ve changed from all of that and see a difference in people,â Braud said. âThey see people rushing around and getting angry. Cars drive differently. Cats and dogs are closer to people, so they really see us.
Braud wanted to create a joyful book that was both joyful and spiritual, Braud said. âI pray for so many people every day. Some people I didn’t even know. Maybe animals are too. Have you ever seen a dog with its head bowed on its master’s gravestone? It is a way of mourning the loss of its owner.
As a former teacher, Braud knew that the easiest way to teach children new words was to rhyme. So she had her subject, her method and her goal, so now it was time to get down to business. She took out a pencil and began to write rhyming words with animal names.
Braud worked closely with a 20-year-old Californian illustrator – this was also his first book – via email or Skype with messages, sketches and discussions. He was one of 15 job applicants. In a whimsical and rhyming way, it helps illustrate animal prayer.
For example, monkeys wear underwear decorated with bananas. The birds pray with a song, probably based on Braud’s delicious birdseed, but they are well dressed. No sensitive tiger would be without gold and purple.
Braud was so happy with the result that she is already considering a second book with the same illustrator – and maybe a third and fourth as well. As Braud dedicates each book, “It’s never too late to be what you could have been!”
After researching online, Braud learned a few things about publishing, selling, and distribution on her own. âThere’s this place called KDP Publishing that’s part of Amazon, and they teach you how to publish a book on your own or through their business – writing, formatting and the like. I wrote this as a dedication to my children and grandchildren because they are the ones who have listened to my stories over the years, so I bought 20 for them, âshe said. âNow it’s snowballing. My family buys their own books anyway. Friends too. It continues with online sales, âBraud said.
The book is available on Amazon.com.