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CUMULATIVE YEARS OF PUBLISHING EXPERIENCE

In the world of education, Audra DeRidder stands as a guiding light...

In a world where she often felt “too much” – too boisterous, too assertive, too overwhelming, or too emotional – Audra’s personal journey has led her to explore how societal expectations can mold our self-perceptions. Her book, “I’m Just Too Much,” holds the promise of shedding light to children on these struggles and offering insights and empathy rooted in her own extraordinary journey. She has experience as a special education teacher and is currently teaching 5th-grade Math and Science. Both she and her husband have their roots in the Upper Peninsula, and they decided to return to their hometown to provide their daughter with the opportunity to grow up near their extended family.”

"Discover More About Audra"

"Could you share the inspiration that led to your children's book and what motivated you to write for young readers?"

“The inspiration for this book originated from my own childhood experiences, particularly as a girl living with undiagnosed ADHD. Observing students facing similar challenges further fueled my drive to share this story. I often found myself being perceived as ‘too loud’, ‘too bossy’, ‘too overbearing’, or ‘too emotional’ and I struggled to make myself more “likable” for others.’ and I grappled with the pressure to conform to others’ expectations of likability.”

"What themes or messages were your objectives in conveying through your children's book, and how do these resonate with your target audience?"

The theme of this book is really based on acceptance. Accepting yourself and accepting others. It’s also about loving yourself for exactly who you are. I think kids need to hear that they can be loved for exactly who they are and they don’t need to change themselves to be liked. 

How did you approach the task of making your story engaging and relatable to children?

I wanted the message to be easily understood through scenarios that kids commonly experience. I tried to recreate scenes that had either happened to me or that I had observed in my students’ experiences. “I’m Just Too Much” takes children on a captivating exploration of self-discovery and acceptance.

This book is more than just a story—it’s a blueprint for understanding the complexities of acceptance in a way that is accessible to young minds. It provides a safe space for children to explore their feelings, fears, and hopes, all while reinforcing the reassuring notion that they don’t need to change themselves to be liked or loved

Were there any specific challenges you faced during the publishing process of your children's book? How did you overcome them?

I didn’t have any challenges when publishing other than the fear of putting my work out there. Writing can be deeply personal, especially if it is an emotional topic. My husband was a great source of support and gave me the little extra push I needed to finally publish the book. 

Are there any particular authors or books in the children's genre that inspired or influenced your writing style or approach?

My favorite book of all time is The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. While the writing styles are very different, I have always been inspired by the way it approaches serious topics. Children are very capable, often more so than we think, and do have to process some of these serious feelings from early on. 

What advice do you have for aspiring children's book authors, particularly when it comes to navigating the publishing process?

There are no stupid questions, you can’t help what you don’t know. Find a process that works for you. As a working mom, I couldn’t handle publishing this book 100% on my own so having Write and Release Publishing was amazing for me. 

Could you share your perspective on the lasting impact that children's books can have on a child's development and worldview?

I often reflect on Maya Angelou’s quote: “…people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” I believe this sentiment applies to books as well. A story that deeply resonates with a child can leave a lasting emotional impression and often impart valuable life lessons through its themes.

Audra’s heartfelt mission with this book is clear: to instill in children the empowering message that they are inherently worthy of love, just as they are. In a world often crowded with messages urging conformity, this book emerges as a powerful testament to the beauty of individuality.