Rocklin author Joanne Veeck on a roll
Publishes new book, will read at Sacramento kids’ literacy festival
Joanne Veeck’s writing runs the gamut from stories about colorful leaves and children with disabilities to co-authoring a motivational book about success with Deepak Chopra, Dr. Denis Waitley and Jack Canfield, author of “Chicken Soup for the Soul.”
Her newest book, published in August, is called “We Love You Just the Way You Are.” It is the story of Adam, a wheelchair-bound boy born with special needs who attends school in a classroom full of young students who never encountered someone like Adam. The children learn to embrace Adam’s differences, thus learning an important life lesson about acceptance.
“It shows that no matter who we are, where we come from and what we have or don’t have, we all have so much to offer,” said Veeck, who has a degree in teaching and studied child psychology and development at San Francisco State.
She’s an advocate for anti-bullying and positive psychology who believes that children should be taught from a young age about happiness and acceptance.
“It’s like when we teach a child to read, every single day, slowly but surely, they get it,” she explained. “…If we were to give them the tools and techniques at an early age, how to soothe themselves and how to be happy, they would get it now.”
Before “We Love You Just the Way You Are,” Veeck published “Your Leaves are Pretty,” which takes place in Sacramento’s Capitol Park. It shows the correlation between trees being uprooted and planted in a new environment to children going to school for the first time.
This weekend, Veeck will be at Fairytale Town in Sacramento, where she’s a featured author for the ScholarShare Children’s Book Festival. The two-day event features dozens of community organizations doing hands-on literacy activities with kids, including learning about Braille and how to use the library. Featured authors will give readings throughout the event on the Mother Goose Stage, including Veeck, who will read “Your Leaves are Pretty.”
“This year, the theme is ‘Fall into Books,’ so Joanne’s book was just perfect because it’s about leaves,” said Kathy Fleming, executive director of FairyTale Town.
Those colorful leaves were illustrated by Alta artist Laurie Barrows, who also did the illustrations for “We Love You Just the Way You Are.”
“I enjoyed doing the trees,” said Barrows, who works in water-based media and also runs the Arts Can Heal program out of Sutter Auburn Faith Hospital. “I enjoyed working with a local author, because most of my authors are all across the U.S., Canada, United Kingdom and Australia, so it was really refreshing to work with somebody local.”
Veeck said she didn’t start writing until she was in her 30s, when out of the blue she decided to dust off some old positive psychology books her father had given her. She started reading them, and soon was reading every inspirational and motivational book she could get her hands on.
That passion has translated into a career as a motivational speaker who presents at schools and colleges. In addition to writing three children’s books, she co-authored “Stepping Stones to Success,” in which she writes about how even though happiness is sought after world-wide, few people reach it, and how happiness is something that can be taught.
Veeck’s books are for sale on Amazon.com and through her website, www.jjhappyhour.com.
Her next project will be a young adult novel based on true events.
At the Children’s Book Festival, Veeck will have a booth where she’ll talk to parents and children about compassion, in addition to giving readings.
“It really is a great event,” Fleming said. “It’s really fun just to see people excited about reading, and in pretty much every corner of the park you’ll see little kids with their grownups reading books. It really is exciting.”