We had the good fortune of connecting with Lauren Gehringer and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Lauren, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
Fueled by necessity more than artistry, I entered the children’s author arena to fill an overlooked void. For young children trying to make sense of what happens when they use the bathroom, there’s a lot of room for misconceptions or fears to arise. On the heels of potty-training, one of my children got into a (all too common) cycle of anxiety, leading to withholding, leading to constipation. Trying to help reduce the anxiety, I explained, in very simple terms, what exactly happens inside and comes out of our bodies. It wasn’t an immediate fix, but there was an undeniable improvement. Initially, I had searched for a book to help explain and illustrate this process. As most parents know, there are lots of children’s books about poop. However, I couldn’t find any that simply, yet thoroughly, explained digestion. I decided to write and self-publish “From Chewing to Pooing: Food’s Journey Through Your Body to the Potty” because I believe it’s empowering for all young children, bathroom anxiety or not, to understand how their bodies work. Given the lack of materials available, I decided to create a resource for parents, caregivers and educators to help fill the gap.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
There’s an endless selection of children’s books available these days. What sets “From Chewing to Pooing: Food’s Journey Through Your Body to the Potty” apart, is the topic itself. Though digestion is integral to life, occurring inside us all, it’s often overlooked by parents. Many of us go from being hyper-focused on achieving potty training success to immediately squashing “potty talk”; forgetting to provide our children with a clear, accurate explanation of what’s happening within their bodies. I am extremely proud to have created a tool that has helped countless little ones understand more about their very selves, and beyond thrilled by how many have loved learning about how their bodies work. I’ve learned a lot about self-publishing since launching “From Chewing to Pooing: Food’s Journey Through Your Body to the Potty” in 2019. While there are several things I would do differently, one of the best choices I made was working with a professional illustrator. If you’d like to write a children’s book, but are not an experienced artist, I highly recommend investing in high-quality artwork that will give your self-published work a fighting chance against polished books from traditional publishing houses, to which your self-published work will be directly compared. This is especially important since good illustrations are crucial to engaging and sustaining interest of young readers. Beyond children’s books, the importance of investing in your business or product upfront can really be applied to any entrepreneurial endeavor. It can feel scary to spend upfront, but not doing so may pose more of a risk.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I am not an Arizona resident, but look forward to exploring with my family in the future!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Artist Maile McCarthy played an invaluable role in the creation of “From Chewing to Pooing”. Her incredible illustrations engage young readers from cover to cover, enabling them to envision this otherwise hidden body function; making the abstract topic of digestion less intimidating and more accessible. As a first time self-publisher, I am beyond grateful Maile was willing to attach her talent and professionalism to this project.
Youtube: Lauren Gehringer