Children’s author encourages kids to be kids
Today’s children grow up watching their parents try to keep up with the latest trends. Instead of looking like normal moms, you see more and more mothers who would rather look like their daughters. It’s no wonder that teens themselves start growing up much faster. Unlike their parents, however, today’s kids strive to look and feel older. They strive to behave like adults at increasingly younger ages. The trend not only leaves adults shaking their heads in disbelief, it also can be confusing to children and rob them of their precious childhoods.
“Kids are growing up too fast and forgetting to be kids,” says Nicole Rocheleau, author of the new book Ollie Ollie in Come Free! (PublishAmerica, 2006). “They also tend to make choices leading them to too much responsibility for their young ages.” She stresses how important it is for kids to be themselves and encourages teens to use the motto: “The only one to stop you is you.”
Peer pressure has always been high, but the pressure to grow up continues to rise unabated. “Kids would want to stay kids longer if we don’t expect them to take on too much responsibility,” says Rocheleau. “When we put too much pressure on them to make their own decisions, they start deciding what to do with their bodies, their clothes, their reputations and their choices. There has got to be a happy medium.”
Rocheleau feels that one way to combat the peer pressure to grow up too fast is by encouraging them to read books with positive messages. “Too often today, children read books with main characters in their age group who are experiencing so much negativity in their young lives,” says Rocheleau. “The books often contain no parental guidance, no structure, no respect for others, no hope, and no simple clean fun. I believe that better books offer better choices, and better choices allow for better friends, better learners, better listeners, better attitudes, and better grades.”
Her passionate feelings about this issue led her to write her own book designed for the 9-12 year-old reader. If you ever wanted to climb a tree, jump over a fence or jump into a pool with all your “good” clothes on – then you are the perfect candidate for Rocheleau’s book, Ollie Ollie in Come Free!.
The main character of the book is Emmy Bolan, a typical 12-year-old girl. She’s insecure, funny, always trying to fit in, and has a flare for the adventurous. She has readers laughing out loud as she gets herself into several totally embarrassing situations. She has a family that loves her, a best friend who would do anything for her, and a secret crush. The character of Emmy was loosely based on Rocheleau herself. Like Emmy, Rocheleau is accident-prone. In fact, she broke over thirty bones before her thirtieth birthday.