Ziglar, niece of the late Zig Ziglar, said she was inspired to write the book after working on a financial literacy program for first- and second- graders in Atlanta Public Schools.
“During my experience there and working with kids every week, it became abundantly clear that while teaching about saving and money concepts is important, the bigger challenge at hand was, ‘How do we get them to say no to instant gratification, to something in the moment, and think about the future and consequences?’” she said. “You can’t have everything and you’ve got to wait for things that are the very best. That takes discipline.”
Shortly after the program, her vision of young Willow, the star of the book, came to life. As a mother of 5-year-old twins Wes and Ellie, Ziglar said she felt the best way to get the point across to young children was through books.
The story, illustrated by Luanne Marten, follows Willow on her trip from home to the circus, and captures all of the temptations Willow faces along the way and how saying “No” sometimes is necessary, in order to wait for the better options.
Ziglar said she met with her Uncle Zig when she realized the lessons she was trying to get across to young kids were the “same timeless wisdom Zig had talked to adults about his whole life.”
His quote, “Sometimes you’ve got to say ‘no’ to the good, so you can say ‘yes’ to the best,” is written on the introduction page of “Can’t Wait Willow.” Ziglar said each book in the series will start with a quote from her uncle, who died in November.
“He was an early pioneer talking about the power of being positive and leadership qualities, like integrity, honesty and hard work,” she said.
After writing “Can’t Wait Willow,” Ziglar said she started thinking about other life skills important for children to learn.
The second book, “Must Have Marvin,” will be published in spring 2014, and teaches kids that people matter more than material possessions.
“Christy herself is so passionate about the concept, … and helping parents learn how to help kids make great choices in life,” said Peggy Schaefer, publisher at Ideals Publications based in Nashville, Tenn. “It’s filling a spot in the market that didn’t seem to be filled at that point.”
Ziglar has several stories written for more books focusing on one concept at a time. Future titles include “Whatever Wanda,” on perseverance, “Later Laney,” on procrastination and “Whiney Willy,” on attitude.
She also has a board game coming out this summer, based on Willow’s walk to the circus and making good choices.
The book is available on Ziglar’s website, www.AlwaysShineBright.com, which also offers free reward charts, family activities and other parenting resources.
Schafer said “Can’t Wait Willow” is also available online at Amazon.com, as well as in family Christian stores, Barnes and Noble and smaller independent bookstores.