Page 11 - FIS World December 2020
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Perseverance Pays Off
A children’s book, decades in the making, comes to fruition
In the mid-1800s, Edward Hickson’s “Moral Song” popularized the saying, “If at first you don't succeed, try,try,tryagain.”Nearly200yearslater,thatpremise
is no less relevant.
Early failures can help provide the insight and re- newed focus needed to persevere and move for- ward. At FIS, we have community members at all levels engaging in that kind of growth mindset, con- stantly learning, growing and thriving on the chal- lenge to keep trying, including our own Director of Admissions and Advancement, Alec Aspinwall, whose children's book, I'll Be the Water was recently published by Tilbury House.
I’ll Be the Water is a poignant story about loss, grief and a grandparent’s love, which was originally written nearly 20 years ago when Mr. Aspinwall was working as an Elementary School Counselor at an international school in Asia. “In my work as a school counselor, I often used books with students to initiate discussions,” Mr. Aspinwall said. “But I couldn’t find one that I felt adequately addressed the subject of the death of a loved one. I decided to write a book that would help me broach this topic with young children.”
At the time, Mr. Aspinwall and a colleague at his school who was also a writer, would challenge one another to submit manuscripts to various publish- ers in the hopes that one of their stories would make the cut.“We would get together once a month to ex- change the rejection notices we had received,” said Mr. Aspinwall. “It was like a pair of kids trading bub- ble gum cards.”
As the years passed, Mr. Aspinwall’s writing took a back seat to parenting, professional demands and otherpursuits.Butinthepastfewyears,withhischil- dren no longer living at home and attending univer- sity in the United States, Mr. Aspinwall found himself revisiting his writing: poetry, a young reader’s chap- ter book – and I’ll Be the Water.
“We would get together once a month to exchange the rejection notices we had received,” said Mr. Aspinwall.
“It was like a pair of kids trading bubble gum cards.”
With renewed focus, Mr. Aspinwall resurrected his original manuscript, made some thoughtful edits and sent it off to several publishing houses in the hopes that this time, one would seriously consider it. In October 2018, he received exciting news: Tilbury House Publishers was interested. In the months fol- lowing, artwork from illustrator Nicole Wong was added to the text and the finished book was offi- cially released in August 2020.
In addition to now being distributed throughout North America, Europe and Asia, copies of I’ll Be the Water have been added to the collection of books in each of the school’s divisional libraries – tangible proof that perseverance does indeed pay off.
Ricky Donnelly FIS World Writer
At left the cover of “I’ll Be the Water”, written by Alec Aspinwall (above)
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