From the moment his eyes open in the morning, Gideon Graham is a boy on the go. This morning, however, there’s a problem of majestic proportions. His super-charged blue boots have scuff marks! How can Gideon possibly save the world from evildoers in scruffy old boots? Momsy acknowledges the crisis, then leads her boy through a day of encounters that changes his view and his heart. Gideon Graham learns that being good is not as valuable as doing good and that good doing is what comes from God.
GOOD TO GO is an upbeat and provoking picture book (ages 4 and up) in which a wise mom uses humor, compassion, and Gideon’s beloved, scruffy boots to show him God can use anything and anybody to help others. The rhythm of this story makes it the perfect read-aloud adventure.
GOOD TO GO will be released soon… join Toni’s mailing list for updates here.
Only once in my life has a story just popped into my head in the middle of the night—the whole thing—BOOM.
It was a children’s story—a genre I’d never written and never intended to write, but this story wouldn’t be denied: GOOD TO GO is the tale of Gideon Graham, a typical young boy whose given the chance to go on an adventure where he learns that being good is not as valuable as doing good, and good-doing is always possible when God is invited along.
With the story came another idea, one of those you have no choice but to try. I called it BOOTS TO FILL, and I began where I always do—with children. In the following weeks, I read the story aloud to classes of school children in my adopted home town of Artesia, New Mexico while Pam Atkins, an amazing local artist, illustrated the story on a giant easel before their eyes. It didn’t take long for the spark to spread. Every kid in town wanted to do what Gideon did…
Meanwhile, after an interesting search, I met a local child suffering health and financial hardship just like the one Gideon meets in the story. Three-year-old Yaresli Salamanca had been diagnosed with leukemia. The choice seemed even more perfect when I learned that Ms. Salamanca chose the name Yaresli for her daughter because it means bringer of light in Hebrew. According to doctors, Yaresli’s condition was treatable. In only two years’ time she could be cured if her family could overcome the insurmountable cost of chemo therapy.
Two months later, with the help of students, parents, community leaders and corporate support, a crowd assembled on a gorgeous spring day in Artesia to support Yaresli. In keeping with the theme of Good to Go, they filled boots and shoes with cash for Yaresli’s medical fund and lined them down city blocks. A marching band completed the parade. On the soles of every boot and shoe, each donor had written encouraging words for Yaresli. At the end of the day, over $6,000 was ingathered, and the footwear was given to those in need. My vision was complete! Positive words were literally put in motion on behalf of a child.
I can’t wait to write Gideon’s next challenge to see if kids will step up to fill his boots again!