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About The Award-Winning Book “What I See, I Can Be”

About the Book 'What I See, I Can Be' By Janet Williams & Light Connections Press

The “What I See, I Can Be: A Guided Yoga Flow for Children” hard cover book and audio CD were launched on September 1st, 2009. This incredible personal journey took the shape of a long 8 year pregnancy. Anything worth doing, is worth doing right, and that was the approach that I took to create a high quality product that would delight generations to come.

As with "birthing" any creative idea, whether it is a book, building or baby, there is always:
     1) A conception point, where the idea takes hold of the owner of the idea
     2) An incubation period for it to germinate
     3) The manifesting of the idea into the world
     4) The nurturing of it to its full potential, so that it may fulfil its ultimate destiny.

The inspiration for the book occurred when my friend Gratia planted the seed of an idea. She shared with me her insight - that she “saw a book inside of me. When I asked her what kind of book did she see, she was not able to describe it, except to say that she saw one there.

About the Book 'What I See, I Can Be' By Janet Williams & Light Connections Press

That night I went home and pondered this interesting insight. I took out an artist notebook and started thinking about what I could offer the world. I realized that as a Primary/Junior Teacher and Yoga Instructor and English Major from Western University, that I could write a children’s yoga book. This book would be different from what was out in the marketplace at the time. It would be written for younger children and it would engage children’s imaginations. It would also be designed to help teachers and parents, who may have never done yoga before. It would provide their children with a fun, safe and age appropriate workout. I also realized that from all my years working with kids, that I understood children’s desire to engage their imaginations and to have fun. And with that thought the title flashed through my mind “What I See, I Can Be”. I saw that the children in the book would lead real children in school classrooms and in living rooms at home. I saw that the children in the book would have fun on a adventure discovering their natural environment.

Although the name and the idea for the book came quickly in an inspired flash, it took one year to write the book. I carefully considered the Yoga Poses that would be appropriate for the classroom and homes and appropriate for the age that I was targeting, which was ages 3-9. I also carefully considered the flow of the postures. Once the manuscript was completed, I then had the challenge of finding an illustrator that could help me create the illustrations that were sweet and cute and almost cartoonish, but where the children also had form and structure and proper joints and limbs. I was fortunate to have my friend Jossilynn Flewelling refer me to the talented artist, Korey McCumber. He enjoyed drawing in a cartoon type style and was a Kinesiology university student. It was a perfect combination for me! He also had a wonderful ability to read my mind, as he lived on the East Coast of Canada and I was in Ontario. We had great fun working page by page to tell the story. I wanted a warm feeling in the pages and requested pencil work as the style. The process to make the book come to life took a year and a half.

About the Book 'What I See, I Can Be' By Janet Williams & Light Connections Press

Then I spent a few years discovering that the “easy part” is writing the book compared to figuring out what was happening in the publishing industry. The internet was in the process of turning the publishing industry on its head, just as it had for the music industry. I received so much encouragement and support from fellow authors at CANSCAIP and their help I am so grateful for. I placed my manuscript into the Writer’s Union Contest “Writing for Children Competition”. Out of 650 submissions, my manuscript was short listed. I did not win the contest but I did receive fabulous feedback about my book and learned that making it as a finalist is considered an honour in itself. This is the feedback I received from the judges: “A great idea for a book. I can’t recall seeing anything like it on the bookshelves. Skilful writing that embodies the spirit and rhythm of yoga. Would appeal to children and adults. The imagery elevates the story to the level of poetry.” My first official testimonial and the book had not even been officially born yet! It was a good sign of things to come.

I researched the traditional publishers but despite getting great feedback for the manuscript and concept, it was believed that my book was “too niche market” so no one would take it on. In the end, I decided to create my own publishing company “Light Connections Press” and with the help I received from the authors and illustrators in IAIC I finally started to go “full steam ahead” with creating a real book.

The next step was to take the beautiful pencil drawings that Korey had created and scan them into Photoshop and have them coloured. This is where I was able to enlist the talented artist Mark Stanleigh to help with this step. After adding colour to the illustrations, he arranged the book into Adobe InDesign so that we had a file to send to the Printers. That process took another year.

About the Book 'What I See, I Can Be' By Janet Williams & Light Connections Press

I worked with the multi-talented musician Betty Ford and in Ron Roy’s studio created a professional Audio CD to accompany the book. As a proud supporter of the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) and not wishing to add to the carbon footprint, I had my book printed in Canada on FSC Certified Environmentally Friendly Paper. These are decisions that were made with the intent that “if every business and entrepreneur does their small part to help the planet, then all of these small acts will result in tremendous good”. It was with the expertise of Sheryl Lubbock at Trimatrix, that I was able to have the book printed and self published as a full colour, hard cover picture book.

In the end, the product was ready and as a new “Mother” I beamed when speaking about my “baby book”. My passion to bring yoga to children and to help keep children healthy and active was now a reality. The web site was built and the orders poured in from across Canada, the USA and internationally, including England, Japan, Hong Kong, South Africa, and Jordon. Everyday more orders come through from Parents, Teachers, Daycare Providers, Librarians, Youth Leaders and Yoga Enthusiasts.

The delightful and amazing testimonials began to pour in also. My heart was warmed to hear about the successes Supply Teachers had had using the book in “difficult classrooms”. How children as young as 2 were loving the book and boys as old as 13, 14, and 16 were also enjoying it! I received feedback from shy people who didn’t even have children and didn’t feel comfortable going to a yoga studio and used the book and CD for their own “Perfect 20 minute workout at home”. I am grateful for the support and love that has been showered on me as I have gone through this exciting journey.

On the book’s 1st Birthday, I felt like Yoga Journal was helping me celebrate because they wrote a beautiful review of the book in their October 2010 magazine issue, which came out on the newsstands in September. The celebrations continued when on April 21, 2011 the day before Earth Day and the Good Friday Holiday, “What I See, I Can Be” became an Award Winning Book. The book won the Silver Medal in the “Living Now Book Awards”, which are focused on recognizing books that foster awareness about healthy living and caring for the environment. I flew to New York to receive the medal in May and participate in the Awards Ceremony.

On October 31, 2014 the book entered the digital world, when it went live in the iTunes store. It is now available for download as an Interactive Book on a Mac or iPad on Apple iTunes in the iBooks Store. This interactive book can be read to kids and then they can watch each yoga pose being done by real children so that they can follow along. It is great for in the home, school classroom and the gym. The blessings continue to come through every day as the journey with the book continues!

Thank you
Namaste
Janet Williams