Authors with Alabama connections write children's book that adults can appreciate
Sunday, August 10, 2008
CHANDA TEMPLE GUSTER
News staff writer
There's a children's book out in Birmingham-area stores that some brides are giving to their single bridesmaids as gifts.
It's called "Princess Bubble" and paints an empowering story of how a happily single princess learns to embrace her life and not feel rushed to find her Prince Charming just because that's what's in the fairytales.
It was written by Susan Johnston, 42, a real estate agent, and Kimberly Webb, 40, a flight attendant. Both are living single in Atlanta and said the purpose of the book is to remind girls and women that if they are single, they can still have a good life.
"We just want to empower and inspire girls. It's not anti-men at all," Johnston said. Adult readers have told them they wished such a book was available when they were kids.
Johnston, who has been in 17 weddings, said she got the idea for the book when one of her friends' young daughters told her that Barbie absolutely had to find a prince and couldn't live happily ever after without one.
"I told her, `Well no, look, I have a good life and I haven't found a prince,' she said. The girl told Johnston, "Well, that's just not possible," and Johnston knew then she had to write a book.
"Fifty-one percent of the women are single today, and I don't want these little girls to grow up and feel like they can't have a good life if they don't find Mr. Right," she said. "Everybody needs to be reminded that they are a princess" single or married.
She collaborated on the concept with her best friend Webb, found an illustrator and finished the book in late 2006.
"If we meet Mr. Right ..., that would be fine with us," she said. "But we are going to be happy until then."
Both women have Alabama connections: Johnston's mother is from Anniston, her father is from Tuskegee and she graduated from Auburn University. She said she still has several relatives in Birmingham. Webb's father is from Birmingham and her mother is from Mobile.
The women have received praise and national attention for their book, appearing on the "Today" show in 2007. On Monday at 8:40 a.m.CST, Johnston will appear on CNN.com to discuss the book.
They would like to work on other books to show the main character, Princess Bubble, going to other countries and seeing how different cultures make everyone special. (Johnston's nickname in college was Bubble, hence the book's name "Princess Bubble.")
Locally, the $12 book can be found at Milestone Books in Vestavia and Swoozies at The Summit. The book can also be found at www.princessbubble.com.
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