How do you eat an elephant?
According to a Nanaimo children’s author, the best way to tackle any seemingly impossible challenge is “one bite at a time.”
In her 11th book, How Do You Eat An Elephant?, writer and illustrator Lindsay Ford offers advice on how to face new challenges through perseverance.
“I’m not encouraging anyone to go and eat an elephant, actually,” she joked, adding that she simply wants to provide a ‘tool’ to help along the way. “As a child, I needed to hear this … I could’ve really used this information in my toolbox.”
The main character in How Do You Eat An Elephant? attends a new school, a relatable hurdle that most children experience, Ford said. As with all her books, she considers the lessons valuable to an adult audience as well, although they may struggle with “massive debt, a new job, starting a business or moving to a new country where they don’t speak the language.”
“The story is with adults in mind because this stems from my own personal journey through life,” she said. “This book was inspired entirely by my own overwhelm. And I would say ‘oh my gosh, everything’s happening all at once – I can’t do this.”
Ford said she wanted to give up while conceptualizing and writing her latest book as it made her face how she personally dealt with challenges.
“It had a whole new energy … and it became ironic that I was even making the book about taking on challenges, and I sometimes felt like I wanted to give up,” she said.
Ford said How Do You Eat An Elephant? may possibly be the start of a new “self-discovery toolbox” collection aimed at “surviving challenges and life” that give hope where there appears to be none.
“So how do we do it? … In the story, the main character, friend by friend, starts to feel more normal and things start to get easier … and we have to celebrate the small wins along the way … As we chip away at it, it becomes easier,” she said, adding that all the little accomplishments add up to “the big one” in the end.
The project, started and completed entirely this year, was written for Ford’s own inner “eight-year-old self” and for all the inner eight-year-olds out there.
Throughout her career, Ford said she’s seen children, teenagers, adults and seniors pick up and consider the exact same copy of her book as, she believes, her work appeals to and has messages for all age ranges.
She also wrote How Do You Eat An Elephant? to be “singable,” which she said seemed to happen naturally as all her stories have organic rhyme and rhythm.
“They’re also sort of lyrical and kind of fun to read aloud. And when I do live readings, it’s enjoyable … I’ve had people suggest that I sing them kind of goofy, like Raffi. And perhaps dress up as one of my characters.”
How Do You Eat An Elephant? will be available to purchase as of Oct. 25 from www.breadandclutter.com and from local retailers in the near future.