Six-year-old co-authors motivational book with grandmother. Most adults take a lifetime to write a book, but for Aria Soloway, 6, and teen Illustrator Olivia Targett, 15, it’s never too early to be “hungry.”
What started as an idea in Aria’s grandmother’s backyard has turned into an Amazon No.1 Hot New Release in the lead up to International Children’s Book Day April 2, 2020. Dr Carol said she and her granddaughter, Aria, wrote the book, The Surprise Circus, to show children, “When you believe in yourself and you’re hungry, then you can achieve anything.”
“I was sitting in my backyard with my granddaughter and we started talking about, of all things, a circus. When Aria told me she’d never seen a circus, I asked her to tell me about the circus people she’d like to see,” Dr. Carol, 73, of Costa Mesa said.
“Aria and I started to talk about the various circus characters and the mischievous, funny things they do. We then created a story based on—of course—the character Aria, named after the young author, who wants to see a circus.
Dr. Carol explained, “We started talking about what she would do to get the circus to come to her town. Aria said, she’d use her mommy’s phone to call the ringmaster.
“We talked about what would happen if the ring master sent a different circus character to Aria’s house each week.
“Then our imaginations were ignited; we were on a roll. We talked about the silly, magical, things that could happen: The juggler might throw her baby sister in the air, the clowns would wake her baby sister from her nap, the fire eater could set the curtains on fire, the magician would make her baby sister disappear, and lots more.
“Aria and I laughed, and she said, ‘If that happened, I’d put the circus people in the backyard.’ I asked her if she wanted to become the ringmaster of her own circus. Aria said she didn’t know if she could talk in front of all the people.
Dr. Carol said, “I then asked Aria to tell me about all the things she could do. She listed lots of things, like piano, kindergarten, swimming, but the one thing she was most proud of was being a wonderful big sister. We talked about all the amazing things you can accomplish when you believe in yourself.
“I told Aria about a child whom I know, Honor Brown, who has spoken in front of hundreds of people. That’s how Honor Brown, a delightful, confident five-year-old was included in the story,” said Dr. Carol, a best-selling author in her own right, is a former English teacher, as well as, celebrity chiropractor and Qualified Medical Examiner.
Dr. Carol explains, “Many children’s books rhyme or have adventures in them, but don’t contain inspirational messages.” She knows the value and importance of reading and stories for children.
While looking for an illustrator, Dr. Carol happened to see the drawings of a friend’s teenage daughter on Facebook. She said, “I didn’t even think about having a child illustrator until I saw some of Olivia Targett’s pictures.”
“So, I sent her a picture I drew and she took my concept and what she produced was beyond amazing.
“I just loved that she could get into my head with this Andy Warhol quality, with colors that popped. The pictures weren’t juvenile, but they were appealing to children. Her style was youthful and had a sense of magic.”
Dr. Carol is currently reading The Surprise Circus to children around the world via video connections. School children have been mesmerized with the book’s colors and the antics of the circus characters.
She said the entire project from concept to completion took just eight months. One of the greatest surprises was when I happened to meet Les Brown, the motivational speaker, and told him about the project. We agreed that it was never too early to take his message—you have to believe in yourself and be hungry—to children. Les Brown even provided the book’s foreword.
Les Brown wrote in foreword:
“The stories we tell our children are powerful, not only for them but for the world. And the only way to create a better world is by impacting the lives of children. Our children are the ambassadors of hope. The most important investment we can make is in our children; therefore, I’m thrilled my messages are presented to children in The Surprise Circus.
It is my belief that children need to desire greatness; be hungry for it and be willing to do whatever it takes to accomplish their goals. Too many people tell children what they can’t do, and it is my belief that children need to hear what they can do. When children have a belief in themselves, they can accomplish anything.
Failures are not due to aiming too high but to aiming too low and achieving that goal. When we look at our children as they should be, then they will become what they can be. We need to empower our children to believe they can achieve their dream—just like little Aria does in The Surprise Circus.”
To promote The Surprise Circus, Dr. Carol has been featured on local television shows, and has keynoted at women’s groups, as well as appeared on podcasts. Aria is eager to do book signings while continuing her kindergarten career.
The Surprise Circus is currently available for preorder on Amazon.
About Dr. Carol
Dr. Carol has a master’s degree in Education and is a former English teacher, so she recognizes the importance of reading and stories. Dr. Carol is currently a State Appointed Qualified Medical Examiner in chiropractic, a National Board of Chiropractic Examiner, and the International Association of Women (IAW) Orange County Chapter President. She has been a chiropractor to the stars and last year, she received the IAW’s Woman of Achievement Award as well as being named the IAW 2019-2020 Influencer. Dr. Carol is a mother of three grown children, grandmother of 12, and plays a mean game of competitive tennis.