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The Adventures of Aria and Ducky: The Surprise Birthday Party"

Granddaughter & Grandfather Write Children’s Book: “The Adventures of Aria and Ducky: The Surprise Birthday Party”


After a 40-plus year career in Manufacturing and Health Care Administration, I decided it was time to retire. I did so, earlier than I expected, to spend time with my 3-year-old granddaughter Aria, and my newly born grandson, Aiden. My wife was “babysitting” our grandchildren (two days a week) and this seemed like a much more valuable use of time.

At the outset of my retirement, I did do some consulting, teaching, and volunteering (in addition to being with my grandchildren). It kept me occupied (which my wife considered a blessing) but there was an obvious lack of fulfillment other than the precious time spent was with my grandchildren.

When spending time with Aria, our “chat sessions” became the highlight of my week. I was taken by her creativity, expressiveness, and “storytelling” ability. One day she told me an entire story about a birthday party she was going to plan for her “best friend” Ducky. Ducky is a stuffed toy that Aria won at a boardwalk game at the beach when she was only 1 ½ years old.

She told me details for the entire party: guests, food, and decorations. She even had a surprise twist (sorry, you need to read the book) with a wonderful ending about friendship. I was so impressed by this tale that I mentioned it to my wife who immediately said “Aria and you need to write this story, illustrate it, and publish it.”
Aria loved the idea and so a collaboration between granddaughter and grandfather (aka “Papa”) created “The Adventures of Aria and Ducky: The Surprise Birthday Party”.

This intergenerational experience was an exceptional opportunity for a grandparent and grandchild to have fun, create something of value, and establish memories.

I have been fortunate in my life to work on many worthwhile and rewarding projects and activities. But, this collaboration with Aria was without comparison. Besides culminating in a wonderful children’s book enjoyed by hundreds of children, parents, and grandparents (see web link below) it strengthened a bond between grandchild and grandparent.

Grandparents play a unique and vital role in the lives of their grandchildren. Grandparents provide continuity and a link between the past and the present. They tell stories of heritage, culture, and pass along anecdotes and generational traditions of the family. There are “teaching moments” that can support the values and goals that the parents are instilling.

I was fortunate to have had this additional time with my granddaughter. Reviewing the story content and “approving “the illustrations (she was tougher on the illustrator than me). We performed readings together, events, and even appeared on a local TV show (which of course Aria dominated!). It was rewarding to see the impact on her as she became more confident, interacting with individuals in every age group, and being asked questions such as: How she liked being an author? Will there be other books? Her notoriety also gave her the chance to learn humility and grace.

This intergenerational experience was an exceptional opportunity for a grandparent and grandchild to have fun, create something of value, and establish memories.

Some time has passed since we wrote The Adventures of Aria and Ducky: The Surprise Birthday Party. However, Aria recently asked if we can write another book together. Can you guess my answer? Stay tuned!

 

The story can be heard on YouTube, read by Alicia Ocasio.

You can contact Andre at awrenna@comcast.net to learn how to request a copy that can be personalized for your grandchild, and signed by Aria, Ducky and me ($15 per book includes taxes, shipping, and signatures!).

Thank you, and enjoy your time with your grandchildren: as you know, it’s “priceless.”

 

Written for Grand Magazine by Andre Renna, a published author, owner of Papa Publishing, and proud grandfather.

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