She Loves Me All the Same is a newly published book by Alisha Gaddis. The book focuses on a young child growing up happily between her mother and father and stepmother. This book is the first in what will become a collection of titles signed at—and starring—preschool-aged children whose families don’t fit the traditional mold.
The initial story is written by Gaddis and illustrated by Spanish artist Mireaia Mirante and it was inspired by Gaddis’ personal experiences as a step-parent. She Loves Me All The Same follows a little girl named Zoey who loves to make lemonade, practice yoga, and dress up for outings with her new stepmom, Miranda. She has two homes — one with her mom, and one with her dad and stepmom. It’s mostly fun (she has pets in each place), but sometimes she’s embarrassed when Miranda sings in the shower, and other times she feels guilty when she’s having fun with her new parent. Even though her life is “different,” and Miranda is not her mom, Zoey knows “she loves me all the same.” In the end, both families come together for a birthday celebration.
The primary mission of Little Maven Books, which is releasing this title under the Red Sky umbrella, is inclusiveness and diversity. By normalizing what may not seem normal, these stories will be taken from or speak to real-life experiences and emotions. Stories might involve protagonists with disabilities or something else that makes them unique.
Alisha Gaddis is also co-founder of the Latin Grammy-winning and internationally touring Lucky Band. They were just nominated for a another Latin Grammy for their album Buenos Diaz.
Recently, the Los Angeles based Gaddis granted an exclusive interview where she discussed this book and future projects.
Meagan Meehan (MM): You are a musical artist, so how did you get into authorship and children’s books?
Alisha Gaddis (AG): My first love is actually acting followed by writing, then music. They have gone hand in hand in my career, oddly enough. I studied acting at New York University followed by film, TV and stage work. Then came the band (www.luckydiazmusic.com), books for actors and then this project for children. It is a windy path that reflects my life journey and my general love for honesty and relationship.
MM: Growing up, which stories had the biggest impact on you?
AG: I had an insatiable appetite for reading as a child. I used to get in trouble for hiding under the sheets with a flashlight and my books at bedtime. I have always been drawn to books that I relate to or aspire to become. I loved books about friendship, happiness and joy. I still do!
MM: How did you find Little Maven Books which is an imprint of the bigger company Red Sky Publishing?
AG: Red Sky approached my agent after being pitched “She Loved Me All the Same” after numerous exciting idea exchanges- I was offered my own publishing imprint. Maven is my daughter’s middle name and the ideal word for exactly what I hope we can do as an imprint for families.
MM: What are your favorite screens in the book?
AG: Mireia Morante is such a talent! That is a hard one. Perhaps the lemonade stand scene; this is an actual slice of my stepdaughter’s stand we made. Remembering it fills me with emotion.
MM: How many books are you planning to write and can you provide any spoilers about their themes? How many books will be in the series in total?
AG: I hope to write an endless amount of books! This book currently has a three-book trajectory with so much room for expansion. I am currently working on books about weaning, all-ability children, LGBTQ families, and more. Inclusion and celebration is the true theme.
MM: What are the best things about working in the realm of children’s media?
AG: It is an honor to be a part of other people’s families and not something I take lightly. I hope to bring illumination, conversation, laughter and understanding in a bigger way. We all love our children, and I deeply respect that people allow me to be a tiny slice of that.
MM: Is there anything else that you would like to mention?
AG: “She Loves Me All the Same” is a love letter to my stepdaughter. Little Maven Books is a gesture to my fellow parenting figures. I hope people see themselves in our pages. You are seen, supported and loved. And at the end of the day, we are all in this together.
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