The best book to inspire your kids to try new things

Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture

Do you want to encourage your small travelers to get excited about change and exploration? We've all had those moments when entering into the new was scary. I've got a lovely new children's book to share with you that addresses this feeling - and shows how wonderful accepting and exploring change can be.

Written by our friend Gabrielle Yetter (who wrote the incredible travel guide and moving manifesto with us, Moving to Cambodia), Ogden, the Fish Who Couldn't Swim Straight is a book that is a must-read for families. Why do I love it so? It's about  being scared, and moving into something different, and adapting and adjusting. Along the way, the colorful illustrations make you happy and laugh, sometimes, at the expressions.

This book? It's happiness and bravery and inspiration, all rolled into one. Highly recommended.

 The best book to inspire your kids to try new things

We were lucky enough to catch up with Gabi, and ask her about Ogden - and learn about some exciting plans for this fishy tale! Read on...

Please tell us about your new book, Ogden, the Fish Who Couldn't Swim Straight...

Ogden, The Fish Who Couldn't Swim Straight is a book about embracing change. It's a story about a little fish who finds himself in a confusing new place when he can't figure out how to break free from the limited world he has always lived in. The book is designed as a children's book but it's an inspirational story with a deeper message and positive images for readers of all ages.

 The best book to inspire your kids to try new things

What inspired you to write this book?

I wrote Ogden, The Fish Who Couldn't Swim Straight almost 20 years ago. He sprung to life in my head and flopped onto my computer where he remained, patiently waiting for something to happen. It came to me after I'd completed a course on childrens' literature and become inspired to create something magical that would have a message of inspiration to children as well as adults.

 The best book to inspire your kids to try new things

What can families take away from this book? 

The message Ogden brings readers is about overcoming fear and discovering magic, so it's great for reading to kids or for children to talk about with their parents. 
Ogden is afraid to break out of his comfortable, familiar world and, even though he wants to see what else is out there, doesn't know how to until a new friend comes along. 
Ogden, The Fish Who Couldn't Swim Straight tells a story about finding happiness by taking risks and exploring the edges of comfort zones and the tale is told in glorious colour with fun, childlike images of fish and fishy scenery.

 The best book to inspire your kids to try new things

The artists are amazing! Please tell me more...

I was in Cambodia for four months this year (where I used to live) and decided it was time to bring Ogden to life. Since I knew no artists (and have no artistic skills myself), I put out a message to friends asking if anyone knew of an illustrator. Within minutes, one of our Cambodian friends responded that she knew two young artists - one a student and the other who works for a  game development company - and she arranged for us to meet four days later.

Daro and Monnyreak met me in a cafe with their portfolios and I immediately knew I'd found Ogden's designers. For the next four months, they created a face and personality for Ogden and his friends and they were always there for me – even after I left Cambodia – making sure everything was perfect until the moment it had been published.
Thanks to Daro and Monnyreak, Ogden is no longer hidden in my computer.

What's up next for you?

I'm completing a second children's book, Martha, The Blue Sheep, that I also created about 20 years ago and also contains an inspirational message, and I'm about to embark upon my first novel. I don't yet have a title as it hasn't made it past the outline stage but it will be set in Cambodia (my home away from home) and will contain a message of hope and redemption.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

Another exciting development occurred when I told my friend, Stephen Bimson, about the Ogden tale. Stephen runs the Phnom Penh School of Ballet and also teaches dance to underprivileged Cambodian children and, when he shared the story with his team, they decided they wanted to make it into a dance performance.

So, this November, Ogden The Fish Who Couldn't Swim Straight, will become a dance performed on stage in Phnom Penh by a troupe of young Cambodian dancers. 

Where can people find Ogden?

Since I have self published, Ogden is available on Amazon.

 The best book to inspire your kids to try new things


Click the photo to purchase this book at Barnes & Noble:

Ogden, The Fish Who Couldn't Swim Straight


All photos courtesy and copyright Gabrielle Yetter