RANCHO SANTA FE — At the children’s section of the Rancho Santa Fe Library, excitement was in the air as everyone waited for Jenny Craig. On July 15, a special event was held in honor of Craig’s debut children’s book, “I Believe in Genevieve.”
Craig’s lifelong passion to bring inspiration to others has now created a literary piece punctuating “strong and healthy” in a positive and fun way for kids.
Craig who adores horses, crafted the story based on a little girl, Genevieve. The young girl works hard to ride and takes great care of an older thoroughbred that she competes and wins with at a horse camp show.
The story highlights smart and healthy choices for both the horse, Candy Ride, Genevieve, and her sister, Trudy.
Mary Lui of the Rancho Santa Fe Children’s Library started the introductions following Craig’s arrival.
“I am so pleased to see so many people here,” Lui said.
A crowd of children and their parents gathered around, giving Craig a welcoming applause.
Diana Hughes, the children’s librarian, read “I Believe in Genevieve,” with Craig by her side. Craig watched the expressions of the children around her.
After the book read, Craig had some things to share with the crowd.
“First of all, let me say that the characters in here are really people that are in my life. I did have a sister, Trudy, she is gone now,” Craig said. “I have a real horse named Candy Ride; and, he is a stallion now, happy, breeding and putting out some wonderful horses.”
Craig said she crafted her first children’s book from her childhood years. She has always loved horses and has owned them for about 40 years.
Since she knew that children loved animals, and that includes horses, she thought it would be enjoyed by kids. Craig said she used the premise of the story as a metaphor in eating heathy and to keep the body moving.
“Moving your body doesn’t mean we have to do exercise. It can be fun things, but it’s important for children to be active,” Craig said. She continued, “So I tried to get that message across into a child’s mind.”
Craig also praised her illustrator, Wendy Edelson. When she saw Edelson’s drawings it spurred her to write the book.
“Wendy is self-taught and a brilliant illustrator, she gave the book an old-fashioned look to it,” Craig said. “And I’m an old fashioned gal.”
Before signing books for the children, Craig answered a variety of questions from both adults and children.
The first question was when she started riding horses.
“I was 10, but back then, we couldn’t afford a horse because I grew up right after the Great Depression,” she said.
Still, that didn’t stop Craig from being close to horses. She told the audience that she and her sister, Trudy, would rent horses a couple times a week and go horseback riding.
She wanted everyone to know that she rode Western style back then, and in her mind at the time, the horn on the saddle was a “mental safety net,” like an emergency brake.
One child asked Craig if she every jumped with her horses.
Craig answered, “No, I never did jump but I love watching them – they are so graceful.”
During the course of the afternoon, Susan Appleby, Rancho Santa Fe Library Guild membership and development manager, made an announcement.
“We would like to thank you so much, Jenny, for being here today and for donating all the books that the proceeds will go to support the Guild,” Appleby said. “We would like to offer you as an author and community member a gift membership to the library guild.”
Craig was honored and thanked Appleby.
While Craig was at the book signing table, children scurried over to the craft table to make stylish horse bookmarks and snaked on apple slices.