by Kathleen A. Killion
How would you describe the colors of your heart? Are the colors bright or darků swirled or solid? No matter what colors you imagine, believing in the beauty of your heart is the message of the newly released book, The Glass Heart.
In the vein of childhood classics such as Cinderella, The Glass Heart takes readers on a quest to find true love. In this fable, a young girl trades her beautiful glass heart for another to please others. Readers may relate this to the everyday experiences of bowing to peer pressure, fitting in with the "right" crowd, or changing to be like others.
At the girl's request, a glassblower makes her a new, beautiful, jeweled, glass heart but it soon becomes a burden to carry. After experiencing several adventures of the heart, the girl ultimately returns to her safe and trusted place, the home of the glassblower, where she discovers the beauty of her own heart.
For girls struggling to find their way through the often turbulent tween, teen, or young adult years, The Glass Heart is the perfect story to point out the importance of being true to one's self. For parents looking to find innovative ways to celebrate individuality amongst their children or for anyone looking to make a heartsick friend look toward a bright future, this book is the perfect gift.
"This is a story about finding and celebrating one's true self," says St. Louis-based author Kathleen A. Killion. "It is the most important journey in anyone's life and sometimes the most difficult. It is my hope that this book will inspire people to celebrate their own unique personalities and talents through the universal messages related in the story."
Killion's story is magically brought to life through a series of watercolor illustrations by St. Louis artist and art school teacher Gary M. Lang. Making a conscious decision not to give any physical attributes to the characters in the story, "The Glass Heart" allows readers of all ages and backgrounds to use their imaginations and place themselves in images that relate to their own life journey.
While doing various school presentations, Killion has amassed dozens of pictures of hearts drawn by children after they've heard The Glass Heart. "Kids more often than not know exactly what the color of their true heart is," says Killion. "Ironically, adults are more hesitant and less in touch when describing their hearts. Ultimately, it is the job of parents, teachers, coaches and other adults in nurturing roles to help children find the swirls of colors unique to each child reflecting a rainbow of individuality and contentment." Killion now is working to develop a traveling display of the heart pictures, with one exhibit already planned for the St. Louis Science
As Killion takes her educational message about self-love on the road, she is also planning to link similar programs for youth on self-esteem, sportsmanship and bullying prevention. The Glass Heart Foundation has been set up, with a portion of the proceeds from the sale of each book going toward foundation programs.
Questions Killion often asks during her programs:
How many of you have had words hurt your heart?
How many of you have used words that may have hurt other hearts?
Who is your "safe person" like the glassblower in the story?
Tell me what makes you and your heart special?