Lower School students at Springer School and Center hosted a very special visiting author in January when the parent of a classmate shared her newly published children's book, Roller Coaster Shmoller Coaster. With daughter Skye listening, Ashlee Boymel read her book and shared the process of finding an illustrator, responding to advice from an editor, and shepherding the project to its final form as a paperback book.
Illustrated in rich colors with a collage look, the book connects the ups and downs we encounter in life with those on a roller coaster and encourages children to weather the downs, knowing that an upswing is on the horizon. The choice we all have in how we respond to the downs is an integral part of the story.
“When I wrote this story, my intent was to help my own kids manage their strong emotions, develop resilience, and to verbalize their feelings," remarked Boymel. "The story became more meaningful to me when I began sharing it with students. One student noted that she likes the downs on a roller coaster - that it was not something to be endured but to be enjoyed despite the discomfort. I think that can apply to life as well."
“It was special to have my mom come and read her book," said daughter Skye. "I’m very proud of her for writing Roller Coaster Shmoller Coaster. For me it’s a story about things that are happening at school and at home”
Boymel holds a master’s degree in social work, and thinks of herself as an artist first, but she has been writing for years and is currently working on a novel. Her experience in mental health informs her art and writing. She wrote an early version of the roller coaster story in January, 2020. "With the Covid-19 lockdown beginning in March," she said, "I thought this is a story that needs to get out in the world. The response I’ve received from adults has been wonderful. They have found it to be an engaging and concrete tool to create dialogue with their children."