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Uzoma R. Ezekwudo on Helping Children Cope with Loss in “Lee and Limbo”
By BookTrib|March 15th, 2021|Author Spotlight, Author Spotlight - Featured, Children's Books
A friend moving away can be a difficult thing for many children to cope with. It’s comforting for them to know that they’re not alone, and that their sadness won’t last forever. Uzoma R. Ezekwudo’s wonderfully touching new book, Lee and Limbo, is the perfect story to help them deal with these turbulent emotions.
We had a chance to learn more about the author and ask her some questions about the book and its messages.
Q: What inspired you to write Lee and Limbo?
A: The genuine friendship and love between two cats in Chapel Hill, a beautiful, small University town in North Carolina where love abounds. When Lee left, and Limbo became sad, I realized that animals, like human beings, experience deep emotional bonds, too.
Limbo, like a jilted lover, got increasingly agitated and miserable. It was hard watching her deteriorate as years passed by. The difference between the cat and human being is that the human, in most cases, knows that the partner is gone. Limbo did not realize that Lee was gone, and sadly, I couldn’t help her understand that.
Q: You included an original song at the end of the book. How do you go about writing a song for one of your stories?
A: My father was a great storyteller, and he never told my siblings and myself a bedtime story without a song. He passed when I was a kid, so I don’t remember much about him. But I remember the bedtime stories, and I still cherish those moments. I call this book a Bowl of Joy because I encourage parents, guardians, teachers, and the community to do something unique and fun with their kids, like playing and singing the songs in my children’s books.
When I decided to write children’s books, I made up my mind to make kids feel the way I felt when my dad told us stories with cool songs. I plan to have music in all my children’s books.
Q: How do your other artistic projects influence your writing?
A: When an idea hits me, I start thinking about it and how to bring it to life. Maybe, I hear a sound, or some phrases hit me like a thunderstorm; I write it down and start exploring it to find out what it is — a song, a story, or what?
Depending on what I have written, a song can translate into a story, a poem into music, etc. For example, my next picture book, Be a Hero, was a song I wrote for children, but I thought my message would be more meaningful if I turned the song into a picture book.
Q: At the end of the book, when the children follow Limbo to her home, you included a twist (that Limbo is a stray and that the new family adopts her). Was this always the plan for the story’s ending?
A: No. In real life, the story ended differently. I named the stray cat Limbo because I did not know where it came from. My editors suggested that it’ll make more sense to finish the story in a way to re-enforce hope.
Q: What do you hope children take away from reading this book?
A: I hope Lee and Limbo empowers children to hold on to life no matter what happens to them. I want kids to know bad things happen, and it’s normal to feel sad and sometimes lonely. But we need to overcome these emotions and move on. There’s always light at the end of the tunnel.
Q: What’s your next project?
A: Marketing my 2nd book, The Fixer and the Garage Door: Charlie. This is a story that instills a sense of responsibility for the young. It is not only the adults that can do something for the family. Even kids can help their parents by using the talent and skills they possess. It’s such a joy to see Charlie trying to help his Mama solve some problems around the house using the unique tool his Uncle Jay gave him for his birthday.
Read BookTrib’s review of Lee and Limbo here.
Buy this book!
About Uzoma R. Ezekwudo:
Uzo is a writer and a recherche batik artist. If she’s not batiking, then she is writing or reading. Born in West Africa, she obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
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