RANCHO SANTA FE — Hot off the presses, “The Search for the Perfect Shell,” authored by Ranch resident Adrienne Falzon is garnering praise. With the same literary players in her first children’s book, “What is an Angel?” her main character, Olivia, learns more of life’s important lessons from her grandmother.
Falzon, who holds advanced degrees in psychology and education, taught all grade levels. This also included being a reading specialist at a minimum security prison for boys between the ages of 13 to 17.
For Falzon, a native New Yorker, this well-rounded educational backdrop helped her craft children’s stories to address the needs and concerns of youth.
These days, Falzon said, so many children are under pressure from either themselves or others.
In “The Search for the Perfect Shell,” Olivia puts herself through agony trying to find a flawless shell for her grandmother while visiting her on vacation in Florida.
“They are at the beach, Grandma is steps behind her, and sees Olivia picking up shells and then throwing them down. Her grandmother is wondering why she isn’t collecting any,” Falzon said.
While on the beach, Olivia drops on the sand and cries because she cannot find anything since they all have chips and cracks.
“Grandma explains to her that they’re beautiful and this is the journey that they took through the ocean and they each have their own story,” said Falzon, adding how everyone has a journey like the shells. “If you go through life just looking for those chips and cracks, you’re never going to appreciate the beauty.”
Falzon went on to say how Olivia’s grandmother reminds her how a pearl’s birth begins from dirt within an oyster. The moral of the story is to stop looking for the “bad” and begin looking for the “good” in people and things.
“We have to think of everything around us filled with love, understanding and respect,” Falzon said.
By focusing on the “cracks” so many will miss out on the true beauty around them and overlook the journey traveled.
“We all have our stories and that’s what makes us special,” she said. Falzon continued, “We are all perfectly imperfect because that’s the way it was supposed to be because we’re unique, and it makes us who we are.”
As a young child, Falzon said, she was very sensitive and acutely recognized how some individuals had a “mean streak.” They would point out if someone was overweight, wasn’t wearing the right clothing or had a different color skin tone.
Falzon was an observer — taking all of it in.
“It made me uncomfortable and upset me so much that I became a champion for those who were the underdog,” she said. “I wanted these kids to know that they were appreciated.”
Falzon shared she thinks that’s when the genesis of all this started. But of course, she didn’t know it at the time.
Literature punctuated with “striving for perfection” seems to be at every turn.
However, Falzon appreciates philosophies from the likes of Dr. Steve Maraboli and Laozi, who she quotes in her book saying, “that perfection is the willingness to be imperfect.”
While Falzon’s books are for children, adults receive Grandma’s message, too.
“If you’re picking out all the faults of people and things around you, you will never been content,” she said.
Once again, acclaimed artist Helen M. Salzberg is the illustrator of Falzon’s second book. “The Search for the Perfect Shell,” can be found on BlueNoteBooks.com and Amazon.com. For those who purchase a book on Guidepost.com, a portion of the proceeds goes to Comfort Kids, a children’s charity.