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New book by Glenwood author about keeping families connected

Donna Daniels
Staff Writer

Becki Rudner’s new book, “My Grandma Lives at the Airport,” is about distance, and closing the gap.

Rudner is a child psychologist who has had a private practice in Glenwood Springs for eight years.

The book, with colorful illustrations by Leroy Morvant, is about a little girl named Shelby who lives in Florida. Whenever her grandmother comes to visit, she and her family always pick her up at the airport and take her back there at the end of the visit.

Shelby, being a smart little girl, figures that’s where Grandma lives.

She learns the truth when Grandma brings her a big map of the United States and shows her where she lives in Colorado, and how far it is from where Shelby lives in Florida.

The idea for the book came about under just those circumstances, Rudner explained. The oldest of her two granddaughters, who live in Florida, was about 3 at the time and asked her mother “why Grandma lives at the airport. It struck me how literal kids are,” Rudner said. “So I bought her a big map and put family pictures on it.”

Rudner’s family “is scattered all over,” so there were pictures in Seattle, where she and husband John Quinn lived before moving to Glenwood Springs, and in Colorado and Florida.

The map gave Shelby a big picture of where her family lived and the relative distances between them.

Children’s memories are not well developed when they’re young, Rudner explained.

“The younger they are, the quicker they forget people. Out of sight is out of mind,” she said.

But having a picture of family whom they don’t see often helps keep their memories alive.

Rudner also called on a psychological principle – dreaming – in her book. Shelby’s mother suggests Shelby dream about Grandma as a way of keeping her close.

“Kids have the ability to direct their dreams,” Rudner said. “They often feel helpless and it’s a way to give them some power.”

In fact, Rudner’s sister applied the principle with her own granddaughter. It happened when her daughter and 3-year-old grandchild were getting ready to move away after living with Rudner’s sister for some time. The granddaughter, after listening to the book, said to her grandmother, “`I’m going to put you in my dreams.’ It made my sister cry,” Rudner said.

Rudner knew from the outset she wanted complete control over the production of her book. She formed Red Hill Publishing Company in 2000 before she started writing the book. She also found Morvant on the Internet and hired him to create the illustrations.

She then hired the Jenkins Group, a book producer from Michigan, to put the books together. They were printed in Singapore.

Rudner is also busy marketing her book, which was published about two weeks ago.

“You have to have the book where people can get it,” she said.

She has sent it out to independent bookstores and to libraries all over the country and is offering it to Internet outlets.

In the meantime, Shelby, now 10, is happy to be a celebrity now that the book is out.

“She’s delighted,” Rudner said.

The book, which sells for $19.95, is available in Glenwood Springs at Through the Looking Glass and the Booktrain, in Carbondale at Novel Tea and the Artists Collective and online at amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com.


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