Fairfield University grad pens children’s book
Published 12:00 am, Sunday, October 16, 2016
FAIRFIELD — Earlier this year, Tara Kay took a trip to South Africa; she thought about where she was and where she wanted her life to go and she returned home to Massachusetts and changed jobs. Within a month of the transformative trip, the pharmacist and holistic healer went home one January night and had a “divine inspiration,” fueling her to pen the entire manuscript of what would become a children’s book.
The book, “Let the Sun Shine In,” is a compilation of personal affirmations for children alongside kids’ artistic interpretations of the messages. Kay, a 2006 Fairfield University MBA program graduate, will return to town for a meet-and-greet at the university bookstore on Oct. 23.
“I have been using positive affirmations personally for many, many years, and I have found them to be very helpful going through various life challenges,” Kay said.
On the night she wrote her book, Kay worked off a notebook of affirmations she had for her own use and added in others that came to her as she wrote. She believes the message of positivity can help children, especially in the face of bullying and negativity on social media.
SCORE, a group of retired business professionals who advise small businesses, helped Kay brainstorm and move forward after she wrote her original manuscript. From meeting with SCORE, the idea of kids doing drawings to go on each page came about. Kay reached out to a friend running a Girl Scout Daisy troop and the 5- to 6-year-old troop members did drawings from flash cards with the affirmations on them.
By the time LifeRich Publishing printed the book around the end of June, Kay pared it down from 50 to 15 affirmations accompanied by drawings.
Pages of the book read, “I feel like I don’t fit in. I am unique,” and, “Sometimes I feel ugly, and I don’t like myself. I am beautiful inside and out.” Below the affirmations are youngsters’ brightly colored, smiling, stick-figure drawings.
“I see it as a tool to help self-empower children, to let them know that they are their own creators, so to speak,” Kay said. “They are the creators of how they live.”
Kay’s childhood environment did not have a lot of positive reinforcement, she said, so she had to learn to embrace positivity in adulthood. Negative messages from teachers or parents are often taken at face value and children may not realize until adulthood that those messages are not true for them, Kay said. In adulthood, she has been able to work older negative beliefs into new ones with positive affirmations.
A Norwalk native, Kay’s parents, sister, nephew and brother-in-law still live in the the town. Over the years, Kay has lived in Westport and Wilton, but moved to Gloucester, Mass., with her then-husband of two years in 2010. She moved to Manchester, Mass., and got divorced a year later.
“That’s really when the inspirational messaging and all that kind of stuff for me started, in 2011 using it personally,” Kay said.
Kay will be at the Fairfield University Bookstore at 1499 Post Road from noon until 3 p.m. on Oct. 23 for her meet-and-greet. Copies of “Let the Sun Shine In” will be on sale and available for Kay to sign. The event is part of the university’s alumni and family weekend and will be a homecoming for Kay, who has not been back to the university since she graduated.