Monday, February 28, 2011

Spotlight on Mommy -- Selena Smith, Author of Joey Wants to Know: A Parent-Child Guide to Inappropriate Touch

This week I would like to introduce you to Selena Smith, author of Joey Wants to Know:  A Parent-Child Guide to Inappropriate Touch.  I am so happy that Selena wrote a book on a difficult topic many of us as parents find it hard to talk about with our children.  With Selena's help and story of Joey the Kangaroo, she makes it a little easier to talk about inappropriate touching with our children.  Here is my interview with Selena on how manages to balance work and family. Stay tuned to my post on Friday, when I will be reviewing her book in further detail.  This is a post not to be missed!

Name:  Selena Smith     
Company Name/Product/Service: Joey Wants to Know: A Parent-Child Guide to Inappropriate Touch
Company Location: Pikeville, North Carolina
Company Website:
Age of Company:  Almost 2 years old
Favorite Inspirational Quotes:  Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.  Ralph Waldo Emerson
Favorite Book: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.  How many children do you have?  What are their ages? Your hobbies? Etc.:

I am a National Board Certified high school English teacher, and I have been teaching for almost sixteen years.  My husband is also a teacher, and we have two daughters ages five and nine.  My usual hobbies are scrapbooking, crafts and volleyball; however, I am currently in graduate school earning a master’s degree in English education, so there is not much time for extracurricular activities.

Briefly explain your business.  How did it come about?:

My book Joey Wants to Know: A Parent-Child Guide to Inappropriate Touch was released in February 2009.  This children’s book is for kids ages 3-12, and it provides a friendly, colorful, non-threatening way for parents and caregivers to talk to children about inappropriate touch and what to do if it happens.  Statistics indicate that 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 5 boys will be sexually abused before their 18th birthdays with 95% of this abuse coming from someone the child knows.  I am a firm believer that education is the most valuable weapon parents have in the fight against sexual abuse.  This book makes approaching this difficult topic much easier.  I also speak to parents, organizations, churches, etc. about sexual abuse awareness and prevention.  I was a child victim myself, and God called me to write this book for children in order to help keep them safe.

What is a typical work day like?: 

I am a full time English teacher, but I try to do as much as I can to promote the book and schedule speaking events.

What has been a struggle while starting up your company?: 
Marketing is difficult because it is extremely challenging to reach people who do not know the book is available.  Once people find out about the book, they are so appreciate to have an age-appropriate tool to use to open up dialogue with their children.  

What did you do in your past work life?:

Not counting odd jobs as a high school and college student, I have always been a teacher.  I did sell Creative Memories scrapbooking supplies for a while, but that was in addition to teaching school.

What have been some of your major successes?:  

I wrote an article published in the September/October 2010 edition of Eastern Carolina Parent Magazine entitled “Innocent Victims: Preventing, Detecting, and Responding to Child Sexual Abuse.”  I have also had successful book signings as Borders Bookstore, Barnes and Noble, and Books a Million.  Speaking to women’s ministries, parenting groups, and other organizations is where my heart is, so these opportunities are the greatest successes. 

What have been some of your major challenges?: 

One major challenge has been shining a light on an issue that nobody really wants to talk about.  Child sexual abuse is not a fun topic to discuss, but people have been so receptive and very appreciative that someone is willing to do so. 

On those impossible days, what motivates you to keep going?:  

The assurance that God has called me to do this, and He will give me the strength keeps me going. 
What is your balancing secret in managing a business and family?:  

My very supportive husband and family are key factors in managing so many things at once.

What is next for your business?:

I would actually like to win a grant to put my book along with sexual abuse education into public schools across my state since teaching about bad touch is in the N.C. Standard Course of Study.  Then, I would like to branch out to other states as well.  Children really need to be taught at a young age about this topic because predators are counting on the fact that they have not been.

Do you have any advice for other mom entrepreneurs that are starting out and struggling, or are on the fence about starting a business? :

I say go for it, but be ready to put in a lot of effort.  Anything is possible.

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