Teresa Basaldua‘s Never Alone is a moving work designed to connect with people from all walks of life by showing them that the title of the piece always holds true. By unraveling the story of a popular, successful, and seemingly happy nine year old boy who inexplicably feels he has no choice other than to take his own life, it offers hope in a world where many can feel like it is in short supply. The author sat down recently to share her thoughts on what this project is all about, how it came to be, and what she hopes it will do for those who read it.
“When I retired as an elementary educator, I was filled with writing ideas that I created to engage students in the classroom. I was equipped with an assortment of characters, many of whom came from my own family, settings, and story ideas from modeling writing to my students. And as an educator, I wanted to write stories that would engage readers and a book that could be used in the classroom to teach thinking about the text. My first book, Faith in the Future, is a picture book that I also illustrated. I never had any training in art, but relied on what I learned from observing my father who was a creative artist. Then, throw in the fact that I’m a storyteller. My writing and illustrations come together from storytelling in the Kamishibai style. It’s storytelling with picture cards used to entertain Japanese children after World War II.”
This is certainly a highly laudable goal, but why this book, and why now?
“This book was born from the moment I fell to my knees as I was walking up to my house. A group of wonderful volunteers were rebuilding the fence that Hurricane Harvey destroyed. I had just returned from picking up lunch when I got a phone call from my daughter-in-law. She informed me that my wonderful nine year old grandson had tried to commit suicide. Yes, I dropped to my knees and cried out to God. I was thankful that he failed. But all the grief I felt years before, when my mother committed suicide, descended on me in an instant. I had to deal with my pain, so I sat down to write. I created a list, so to speak, of all the wonders this young man is. To the list I added illustrations. I added an index to empower everyone – to let everyone know that they don’t have to go through struggles alone. Through the process, I learned that suicide is increasing among very young people. And, to my knowledge, a picture book about suicide prevention for young children has never been done. But before anyone thinks that I actually showed anything about suicide itself, let me explain that the story and illustrations do not depict suicidal activity in any fashion. Even the illustrations are very muted, kept to the same three colors throughout the book.”
“Never Alone is intended to be an encouragement, a source of help to that person who is considering suicide, and to their friends and family.”
And what do you hope to achieve over the coming 12 months?
“This book started as a way for me to help myself deal with the pain of suicide. Once I learned that suicide was escalating among children as young as four years of age, I knew that this book could help others as well. The idea of this book is prevention. We are good at looking like everything is okay when we are a bundled up mess inside. Surrounding ourselves with good people is extremely important. I want to see this book in doctor offices, health care waiting rooms, counselor offices, schools and libraries. I pray that this book can be instrumental in saving a child’s life.”
Visit https://www.amazon.com/Never-Alone-Teresa-Basaldua/dp/1644928787/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=never+alone+teresa+basaldua&qid=1612296130&sr=8-1 today and explore a moving work that’s set to change the way the world thinks about the complex issue of suicide.
Teresa Basaldua can be contacted for interviews and speaking appearances through the Media Contact Information below.
Author’s Blog: https://terrybasaldua76.blogspot.com