Princess Lil is a sad pony. Her little girl grew up and went away. Now Lil is in a scary place with lots of mean ponies. A fun furry farm-cat called Taffy and a nice roan horse named Pearly try to help. It even looks like Princess Lil might have a chance to cheer up special-needs children, too, but she is already too hurt and too sick. Princess Lil is about the differences between loyal friends and those who bully others. It shows the power of caring about ourselves and the people who look out for us. Is it too late for a sad pony in a scary place? The answer might just depend on how much we all love Princess Lil.
I look forward to sharing Princess Lil with family, friends, and in my counseling practice.
―Judith Church, LMSW, ACSW
Princess Lil incorporates functions of the fairy tale . . . while it weaves in age-appropriate lessons for courage to confront bullying, happiness gleaned from service, and the staying power of the Lord.
―Rohn Federbush, author of Salome’s Conversion
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Interview With Nelle Cooper
Tell us about the book:
Girls love horses at about the same age they experience ‘mean’ girls. Princess Lil experiences bullying from the other ponies. Pearly and Taffy become her friends. Can animals teach us to be kind? Can a story empower children/people to demonstrate the power of presence?
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?
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 workplace 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 and my local librarian, and discovered a market (target population) for a youth novel on this topic. I wrote it, and asked a children’s librarian and three elementary teachers to read it. My wonderful editor at Fresh Ink Group 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.
The scripture from Job 12:7 KJV. My husband encouraged me. I observed girls and women who have influenced my life. I drew upon my own childhood and how much I wanted a horse and a friend. I thought a lot about my own experiences of being bullied and my concerns for people who shared their stories with me.
The intended audience is eight-year-old children, especially girls. The discussion could involve adults and children sharing stories. It could be read to younger children in chapter segments.
Education: B.S.N. from University of Michigan, Flint. I’m a Registered Nurse. I live in rural area, in a restored centennial home. We have a large old restored red dairy barn behind the house, several gardens, two mulberry trees, and one very smart cat named Sadie. I reside in the same township where my family had a centennial dairy farm. My family emigrated from England. They were farmers and blacksmiths by trade. I grew up on a dairy farm and lived in a seven-gable farmhouse. I attended a one-room country school until 7th grade. I owned a brown horse when I was 8 years old. My favorite pastime as a child: to take a pad of paper and a pen, go off by myself somewhere on the farm, and write. I am a wife, sister, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, mother-in-law, step-mother, sister-in law, niece, adopted step-mother, and adopted grandmother. My nursing career has been varied and full. I have worked in adult and children’s mental health, school nursing, and public health. I worked in parish health nursing for fourteen years. I have taught clinical nursing students.
Member of Toastmasters International.
Member of American Christian Fiction Writers and the Great Lakes chapter of the ACFW and the Scrimshaw Writers
Registered Nurse 39 years
Organized a community garden project
Member of Stephen Ministry
Volunteers at the Loving Hands Free Health Clinic
Attended BSF for 12 years and currently attends
Member of St. Paul Lutheran Church, Lapeer, Michigan
Founder and member of The Hadley Fiber Arts
Mentor for the Michigan Prisoner Re-entry program
Christian faith is the foundation for my values. Eph. 2:8
I am energetic, positive, a problem solver and an encourager.
Hobbies: Writing stories, reading, public speaking and storytelling, spinning yarn on my spinning wheel, knitting, especially socks, sewing, quilting, and gardening.
Likes: Enjoys learning, listening to classical music and reading, and spending time with friends and family, keeping my hands busy- researching family history and exploring antique stores for story ideas.
Life history travels: Traveled throughout the United States, the Caribbean, Mexico and Canada.
Writing Credits: As far as publishing goes, I have had one article published in Michigan In Touch, circulation 40,000. Regularly published articles in the church newsletter for 12 years.
Social media. Email, Facebook
What would you like to hear from readers?
Did the book open discussion within their family and or friends? Did the story encourage them to look up other stories in the Bible related to the topic. Did they share personal stories and explore helpful measures to manage difficult situations.
What you want to say to readers or potential readers?
I hope you will enjoy reading this book and that you will share the message with others, both children and adults. I thank God for the inspiration and resources in writing this book and pray for guidance and protection as I embark upon sharing this message of faith and hope.