In the Land of Wugginville is a modern day fable for children ages 6-12 that contain a few themes and morals that may pertain to the issues of living in today’s modern society. I hope to touch upon how one can achieve happiness and contentment by being independent and by taking the focus off oneself and paying attention to others. As our children grow up in today’s “me” society, there is planted a dangerous seed that may lead to some emotional or mental health issues later on. Parents have always taught children manners and respect but we need to “add on” a few more updated rules. My goal is to enlighten and educate children that just like there is a time for school, sleep, television, play, and so on; there should also be a “time” for technology. Having friends on the internet is fine as long as there is an understanding within the child that spending time with Facebook friends should be limited as spending time with “live” friends is.
I came upon this idea after observing the subtle but definite changes in certain behaviors of my students throughout my 24 years of teaching. Also having a degree in psychology, I am fascinated by human behavior, especially in children. I came upon this idea for my book after realizing that there are subtle changes in the behavior of children over the years. For instance, children are still loving, empathetic little people but they seem to be developing egos at much younger ages than previous years. They seem to be more aware of themselves and how they look and are looked upon by others. Five and six-year-olds are getting manicures every week or boys are talking about their sneakers and gold earrings. I understand that this is the sign of the times but young children are not noticing others. For instance, if a child has a friend who is sad, they will help and feel concern for their friend. But they will not “notice” that their friend is sad.
The children do not pay attention to others as I remember in previous years. Put this together with the rise in depression, drug use and suicide attempts that adults hear on the news every day, and we may be witnessing a disturbing trend. A trend that can be halted if parents and teachers make this connection now. You might say I’m an alarmist but I am in the field and I strongly believe that including the importance of limited technological use as part of a “growing up” lesson is not only important but crucial for the mental and emotional health of our children.
I strongly believe that the themes taught in my book are lessons that need to be recognized, discussed and reinforced at early ages so that the child does not experience harsh feelings of loneliness, insecurity, and alienation that the “me” generation is experiencing and adults are witnessing. Alienation and cyberbullying combined with low self-esteem and other issues are a dangerous mixture for a young adult. My goal is to enlighten parents and children to remember that the people you’re within the moment deserve your attention.
Using my cats as the main characters, I’ve created a fun fable that touches upon achieving happiness through noticing, helping and expressing empathy toward others especially those with disabilities. The moral also shows the main character “acting” happy and fabulous with her many Facebook friends even though she has no “real” friends.
In the Land of Wugginville tells of a tale of a fabulous place where only beautiful creatures could live and play. However, Cherokee, the flawless, glamorous female cat, and Chester the frail, unkempt male cat have two very different definitions of the beautiful. On their journey to Wugginville, the cats meet up with some very interesting characters who seek friendship and love much to the chagrin of Cherokee.
My book has rich vocabulary along with figurative language, and alliteration and does not have to be read in one sitting. Reading a few pages and then discussing opens up important dialogue for you and your child. The messages in my book are subtle but important and strong. I hope my readers will not only enjoy the plot but learn a lesson or two or three.