Radio talk show host and author Michelle Borel believes if there is one "key" she can pass on to children, it is thankfulness.
She intends to do so through her children’s book, Magic Words With Max.
The book was self-published on Amazon in March.
The idea for the book came as Borel saw her mother, Roxanne Browne-Phillips, teaching her youngest son to say thank you when he got his bottle.
“It was very natural for me, being a writer, and always writing stories inspired by my children," said the mother of four.
She thought about writing the children's book after taking part in the Read2Me storytelling programme last year.
“I said you know, ‘I don’t even have any of my children’s books. I can’t even find some of the things I wrote'.”
What her mother taught her toddler, led her to think about her older son, who is 17, and is often complimented for being well-mannered. Recognising it was about the way her sons were being raised, she decided to share this in Magic Words with Max.
A media release about the book said it, “takes children on a magical journey with Max, as he shares the values and benefits of good manners.
“This is shared in a light and fun way that is easy for children to retain, using the gift of rhyme. It reminds children to always keep their standards high.”
Borel wrote the book in February and the drawings were done by an Indian illustrator called Scribbleline.
Using magic words, such as please and thank you, Max helps to teach children make people feel “bubbly and light inside,” said Borel, who won the 2018 Bocas Lit Fest People’s Choice – Book of the Year with her first collection of poetry – Soulspection.
She writes using rhymes. “I think children learn a lot through rhyming. I tried it on my children and they love it and other children who’ve read it so far, love it too.”
Borel has since written and published another book, Now I’m Two.
This is, “a celebration of the terrific twos in our lives,” she said.
While some might wait to catch the eye of a publisher, Borel decided to self-publish since she always remembered her mother saying, “Procrastination is the killer of time."
“So why leave for tomorrow what you can do today? If you can do it for yourself, why not? Because there is also the possibility that after the book has made its rounds on its own, it can then attract publishers who may be willing to probably do a second or third edition of it.”
She also decided to publish through Amazon since it made it easier for people to access via Kindle or other digital platforms.
“Especially, in this time that we are living in, we have seen everything has gone from brick and mortar to click and order. So you really want to make the process easy for people and Amazon was a tool that made that possible.”
Amazon also allows for print-on-demand.
“So I think that is rather convenient. However, based on the success the book has gained in less than two weeks, the demand is there for me to now print.
“So I am working with a printer in China and a bookstore in Trinidad and Tobago which has shown interest in having the book as well.”
But what is important for Borel is sharing the qualities that make for a better Trinidad and Tobago.
She believes that it “takes a village to raise a child.”
And focusing on the qualities one wants to see flourish in Trinidad and Tobago.
She said she learnt as an adult the wonders the energy of thankfulness and gratitude does for people.
“I’ve discovered, any time you feel like you’re sinking, regardless of what you’re going through...that is the time you are supposed to be thankful and show gratitude even more.”
The release said Magic Words with Max also shows parents teaching by example. It also offers activities such as colouring Max or helping him find his magic words.