Behind the Scenes: Princess Lil

Author Nelle CooperNelle Cooper answers some questions about Princess Lil:


Why did you write it?

Working in several schools as a nurse I observed multiple situations where children experienced the pain of being excluded, rejected, scorned, and teased. With increased technology, these experiences have exploded (gone viral) creating serious situations, with sometimes, horrible consequences. Although this can and does occur at any age, it appeared to blossom at the age of eight. Upon exploring the bookstores and Christian literature stores, I did not find a book to offer young girls both reading entertainment, and the principles to foster healthy relationships. Perhaps these discussions could also later prevent dating violence and domestic abuse as the students learn how to identify and promote healthy friendships.

What are you trying to say?

  1.  Because we can say it, text it, tweet it, send it, do it, or even encourage another to act in a hurtful way does not entitle anyone to be unkind.
  2. People are unkind often without any reason and without any knowledge of why they are behaving that way.
  3. Without knowing Lil, Pearly stepped up. She demonstrated the power of presence. This can comfort another and perhaps even stop the escalation of the behaviors.
  4. A principle of Christianity is to “Love your neighbor as yourself.”Matt 22:40. The fundamental principles of human kindness are experiencing a serious lack of expression and exercise today. We must work together to demonstrate kindness in our own behaviors and teach our children about acceptable and unacceptable behaviors.
  5. Perhaps, focusing on “bullying,” -a negative word sends only a negative message.
  6. A positive message: Pearly demonstrates kindness, friendship, and loyalty, which in turn, promotes hope and encouragement.          

What does it mean to you?

Parents may try to teach their children about being kind, but children tend to stop hearing familiar voices. It is my hope this book will promote discussions about unkind behaviors. Adults and children will share and talk about the feelings they have or have had when these situations occur. Through the telling and discussions, hopefully the emotional anguish will be lessened and positive behaviors strengthened. I have been amazed when I discuss this book, the stories adults have shared about their own experiences childhood/adult, at school, sometimes in their own family, domestic situations, even work place experiences of being bullied. Every story they told further encouraged me to write this book.

What does publishing mean to you?

Publishing means the opportunity for children (esp. girls) to read this book both for pleasure and to discuss how the story applies in their lives both now and in the future. Perhaps at the age of sixteen or sixty, the readers of this story will remember the lesson of friendship, kindness, presence and loyalty. It is my hope this story will be shared for generations to come.

Describe the process by which you wrote it.

We occasionally have the opportunity to travel to Chicago to visit family living there. On one such trip, a granddaughter joined my husband and I. During the ride, she shared some of the difficulty girls experience in school. We talked about how painful it is when someone is intentionally, not invited to a party and all the other girls are invited, when a girl cannot afford the popular clothing or finds classroom work difficult. On the return trip, she talked about how much she enjoyed going to a horse riding stable. How the horse she rode had become a friend to her and she wished she could purchase the horse. I told her about the horse I had when I was a girl. Later we talked about writing a story together, using horses and giving them the personalities of girls. She moved on with her life and I set the idea aside for a couple years, but it did not go away. Whenever I discussed the topic with adults, they shared both adult and childhood experiences of bullying. (Some told of experiences 40 years ago.) I visited the local bookstore, consulted people in the book business, my local librarian and discovered a market (target population) for a youth novel on this topic.  I wrote it, and ask a children’s librarian and three elementary teachers to read it. A wonderful editor suggested ideas to enhance the story. With those changes completed, I asked a group of professional, children counselors to review the story. With their encouragement, I pursued publishing.