Her books are published in 32 countries and have sold over 310,000 copies world wide.
She wrote her first picture book, Farkle Shark, You Are Not Stupid because she knows tons of children who might not be smart in school but they know a lot about trains or insects or they can fix things or they have determination to stick to a hard job or they can make people laugh. Yet often --- because someone bullied them or made fun of them --- they are convinced that they are stupid. She based this book on an Einstein quote: "Everyone is a genius.But if a fish is judged by how well it climbs a tree, it will live its entire life feeling stupid".
Rita hopes that this book will ignite in children the understanding that everyone is a genius. Twice Rita rode mules to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and back. This has nothing to do with her book. She just wanted you to know that.
Connect with the Author
About the Book
“Everyone is a genius. But if a fish is judged by how well it climbs trees, it will live its entire life feeling stupid." ~This quote, attributed to Albert Einstein, is the theme of Farkle Shark, You Are Not Stupid.
Farkle Shark was feeling blue. His big sister Sparkle criticized the way he talked. But when Big Bully Boy called him stupid because he can’t climb trees, Sparkle jumped to her brother’s defense. Her advice, followed by a wild adventure, changed his attitude … and his life.
This fun and funny book will bring on laughs, cheers and an understanding of important life lessons about bullies and feeling stupid. (Haven’t we all felt that way some time in our lives?) Four to eight-year-olds and beginning readers will love Farkle’s story.
Get it Today on Amazon!
Keep reading for an interview with the author:
Why did you decide to be a writer?
For many years, I wanted to be a writer but kept telling myself I don’t have the time. “Maybe next year”.
Finally I realized I was afraid I “wasn’t good enough” so I plunged in -- joined a group, took classes, attended webinars, posted sticky notes with encouraging quotes all over my house (including the bathroom mirror)… and started to write. I didn’t know if my writing would be any good or not, but I didn’t want to go to my grave wondering “what if”.
Do you have a "day job"?
What do you do?
I am a Professional Speaker covering the topics of my books: Procrastination, Clutter and Stress. It’s like a perfect circle – the success of the books helps me get hired to speak and when I give a talk, many people in the audience buy the book.
Sadly, that way of promoting books doesn’t work for my most recent one, Farkle Shark You Are Not Stupid (which is my first picture book). I can read it for a gathering of children, but that doesn’t compare to speaking in front of several hundred people who like my topic and buy the book.
What genres do you write?
So far, I’ve been successful in writing “self-help books” including The Procrastinator’s Handbook, The Clutter-Busting Handbook, The Procrastinating Child and Manage Your Time to Reduce Your Stress.
Farkle Shark, You Are Not Stupid is my first venture into writing for children with a picture book. This has been a whole new learning adventure. Great fun. Am still learning a lot and loving it.
What inspires you to write?
Each of my books was inspired by recognizing a problem and figuring out valid, helpful was to solve the problem.
Farkle Shark, You Are Not Stupid is inspired by a favorite quote which is attributed Einstein that says: Everyone is a genius. But if a fish is judged by how well it climbs a tree, it will live its entire life feeling stupid.
It's for those little kids we've all met who think they are stupid because they are not doing well in school, but when they talk about trains or dinosaurs or whatever they are interested in, they are brilliant. Farkle Shark helps them learn to focus on their strengths instead of weaknesses.
I wish every child and ever teacher (especially Special Ed teachers) knew that quote, so I was inspired to “spread the word” through a shark named Farkle.
What is the oddest thing you've ever researched for one of your books?
Are baby seahorses really born from their dads? Do male seahorses actually carry and deliver the babies? You might not care about this but Farkle Shark will in his next book.
What is the most difficult thing you've ever researched?
When writing the book The Procrastinating Child: A Handbook for Adults to Help Children Stop Putting Things Off, I began research by interviewing children who procrastinate. That didn’t work. They actually “put off” sticking to the subject, and had NO insights on the why or how of it all.
So I ended up interviewing over 500 adults who procrastinated as children. Not surprising – most were still putting off everything at the time of our interview. The one thing the majority had in common was the observation “Nobody taught me a different way to be.”
If you could choose an author to be your mentor, who would it be?
Emma Walton, author of The Very Fairy Princess series
When did you first consider yourself an author?
When I held my first book in my hand. And again there is that thrill and delight every time I finally see an actual book of something I’ve been writing and working for ages. It’s not quite the same overwhelming joy as holding my newborn child … but it comes mighty close.
What is the biggest obstacle you face as an author and what do you do to overcome it?
This is my first picture book and writing it was fun but learning to promote it has been slow. To promote my “adult self-help books”, I give talks, write articles and do radio interviews. None of that works for a picture book. So I am studying, reading books & taking webinars – learning all I can. But the biggest help is I’ve hired someone to promote my book on social media. Am still learning about and overcoming the challenge (no longer obstacle) of promoting a picture book.
Have you ever had a particularly harsh critique? How did you handle it?
Yes, the first week my book Farkle Shark, You Are Not Stupid was released, I sent copies to several people who were interested in it or might be influential in telling others about it.
Six members of a Mother’s Group who met by phone read it. Nobody liked it. They said it was pointless, the children were not interested in it and the names of the main characters (Farkle Shark and Sparkle Shark) were confusing.
I was crushed. It broke my heart. Before I had a chance to ask them how it could be improved, I heard from several others who loved it and had opposite opinions of it. I reminded myself that you can’t please everyone and tried to stop thinking about that first “evaluation” I’d received.
Since then, never have I received such negative, harsh comments about Farkle. But yes, once in a while the comments of that group cross my mind and bring me down for a moment or two. Then I simply shake it off.