Joining us today is Leonard Jacobson, author of In Search of the Light. This is a children’s picture book geared toward children aged 3-93.
Thank you for joining us today, Leonard. Can you please start off by telling us a bit about yourself?
Well, I can begin by saying that I have lived in the United States for the past 15 years, but I was born and raised in Melbourne, Australia. I studied law at the University of Melbourne and graduated in 1968. After graduation, I spent over five years traveling the world. I visited many countries in Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and India. It was a wonderful time and I learned so much about all the different cultures of the world. I then returned to Australia and began practice as a barrister, complete with wig and gown. I practiced law for about eight years until I decided that it was not my true calling. Rather suddenly, and without any idea of what I would do in the future, I resigned. At first I felt elated, but after several months I began to feel depressed with no sense of what my future might hold.
This really was the beginning of a journey of discovery that transformed my life. I have been a spiritual teacher for the past 26 years. I have written 5 books, and I travel to many locations around the USA as well as Europe, Australia and Asia, sharing my teaching with those who are interested in living a more present, empowered and awakened life.
When did you first get bit by the writing bug?
I was never really bitten by the writing bug. As I said earlier, after giving up my career as a lawyer, I was rather depressed not knowing what to do with myself. A friend said to me, “Leonard, you are creative, why not write a book?” I asked her what kind of book she had in mind. “A children’s book!” she replied.
And so I began to write In Search of the Light, but it was a very gradual process that took over three years to complete.
I had just begun my journey upon a path of personal and spiritual growth. I had attended a few workshops and courses and I became very interested in healing myself and awakening to a higher level of consciousness. As I progressed along my own path of awakening, the book gradually unfolded. Chapter 1 came easily. But Chapters 2 & 3 took over 3 years to complete. It was as if I had to first complete the journey myself and go through all the experiences spoken of in the book. Then I was able to take the animals in the book along the same journey, in search of the light.
Why did you decide to write stories for children?
As I said, I wrote a children’s book because my friend suggested it, and I thought it would be fun. I have written four books for adults, each with a theme of spiritual awakening. In Search of the Light was actually the first book that I ever wrote, but it took many years to find an illustrator and get the book published. I was just more focused for many years on working with adults. About 4 years ago, I found an illustrator that I thought would do a beautiful job of illustrating the story and I am extremely happy with her illustrations. Ironically, it took me 3 years to write the book, and it took her three years to complete the illustrations. It really has been a very harmonious collaboration.
Do you believe it is harder to write books for a younger audience?
It really depends on what a children’s book author wants to convey. Children have a beautiful innocence about them and I believe that they can easily respond to simple messages of truth if they can feel and experience it within themselves. A child is much more present than his or her parents, and much more connected with the natural world. It is also a time of great discovery and development. However, there is a great deal of pressure on children to develop their ability to use the mind effectively. But there is not much guidance given to them about how to remain present throughout the various stages of development. What happens is that as they mature, they become more and more absorbed into the mind and they gradually disconnect from the deeper levels of themselves and the present moment. If they can sustain themselves at a certain level of Presence, their future will be much easier, and more fulfilling.
All of my books for adults are directed towards helping adults still the mind and become more present. This leads to a greater sense of peace, love, and joy in their lives.
What is your favorite part of writing for young people?
I enjoy writing for children in a way that connects with their innocence and their sense of adventure. I also like to convey a message that is empowering for them both within the family and at school.
In Search of the Light is a 32 page children’s picture book for ages 3 and up. The rhyming dialogue tells an enchanting story of animals in the meadow, who experience a sudden eclipse of the sun. Not knowing what has happened, they believe that somehow the sun has lost its way, and they are concerned that it could mean the end of light. Considering the situation to be most urgent, they form an expedition of four who journey to unknown places in search of the source of the light.
The first of three chapters introduces the four who journey in search of the light. Ned, the horse is the leader. Peter, the rabbit is his reluctant and somewhat fearful companion. They are joined by Bert, the brave little bumblebee and timid but very sweet Molly mouse.
Chapter Two takes them into a forest of darkness, where they encounter all sorts of scary things, including witches and ghosts hiding in shadows. Just when things seem hopeless, the wind speaks to them offering advice to seek a guide who has his own inner light. Shortly afterwards, they encounter Frederick Firefly, who guides them to a land where nothing seems right.
Finally, in Chapter Three they walk down the “path of the opposites” and a bird with a very large beak offers them guidance. Eventually they discover that when they are beyond all judgment, desire and fear, the source of the light is within them, and that it always has been.
In Search of the Light is beautifully illustrated by Italian illustrator, Fiammetta Dogi, who lives in Florence, Italy.
Where can readers purchase a copy?
The book will be available in bookstores nationwide in May 2011. It is available now through my website store at www.leonardjacobson.com.
Do you have a website and/or blog where readers can find out more?
For more information, readers can visit www.insearchofthelight.com. There, they can view a video book trailer, which will give them a really good sense of what the book is all about. There is also a video featuring the beautiful illustrations by Fiammetta Dogi, with me reading Chapter 1 of the book.
What is up next for you?
I have at least two books for adults that I am working on. They are based on my lectures here in the USA and also in Australia and Europe. I am on a seminar and lecture tour of Japan, Taiwan and China in April/May of this year. That should prove to be very interesting and provide additional material for the new books. I have the beginnings of an idea for a second children’s book, but it is just an idea at this stage.
Do you have anything else to add?
Not really. Thank you for this opportunity.
Thank you for spending time with us today, Leonard. We wish you much success.