LET’S TALK ABOUT ‘THE PERFECT SATURDAY’ WITH GILLIAN MACAULAY
September 11, 2021
Stories make everything come to life! In most cultures, storytelling has brought families and people together for hundreds of years. It is one of the simplest forms of bridging gaps around socialization, improving emotional intelligence and raising a general awareness of what’s acceptable within societies.
Storytelling is one of the most powerful tools in raising children, facilitating good relationships and supporting families across the globe. In Africa, for years we relied on oral storytelling and sharing our experiences in informal spaces. We are quite familiar with coming together to have heart to heart discussions which often reflects our views on moral and ethical issues or just pure humorous banter. Over the last few decades to our delight at www.arianadiaries.com, the scene around stories by Africans has transformed into a lively hub of creativity.
Every week, we welcome emerging authors from Africa or African descent who celebrate and record our history through writing about our daily life experiences, lifestyles and culture. The list is growing with a focus on value addition- fascinating stuff; Illustrators are creating magic with characters who look like us. Our children are blessed to not only hear stories from our perspectives but with it comes names that they are familiar with or scenarios that they resonate with and people who look just like them.
It wasn’t much of a surprise to our publisher when a few weeks ago, we were once again connected with a Sierra Leonean Children’s author who is based in The United States of America – Gillian Macaulay.
Like Oprah, we strongly believe that ‘Everybody has a story. And there’s something to be learned from every experience’, we thought it would be inspiring for our readers to get to see and meet with Gillian to share the journey behind becoming an author and how her story book – ‘The Perfect Saturday’ will influence the lives of our little ones.
Gillian is a Risk Management Professional; her most recent professional accomplishment is becoming a children’s book writer. She enjoys being a wife, mom, sister, and aunty to many lovely kids.
Growing up, Gillian recalls talking a lot, till this day she remembers one of her teachers from King Harman Preparatory School writing the following phrase on her report card “Could do better with less talking”. However, that changed when she suddenly lost her dad, Julian Macaulay Snr. on June 23, 2003. She said she was flabbergasted and really could not put her thoughts into words, as that experience left her speechless. Over time, even her close friends and family realized how difficult it was discussing issues around her dad’s passing. It was something she would rather not talk about, which is what led her into writing. She says that on difficult days that she missed him dearly, she started writing down some of her favorite things about him and all the great memories he had left them with.
Writing through her personal healing has helped her discover the power of storytelling and creating beautiful and thoughtful memories. This and other beautiful childhood experiences have supported her through her own children’s book author journey.
The highlight has been seeing the joy on children’s faces after reading the book and the realization that ‘The Perfect Saturday’ is a tool that can be used to promote reading in so many spaces across the world.
Gillian is thrilled that she was able to work with another Sierra Leonean, Luseni Kallon who perfectly executed her ideas for the book illustrations.
The Perfect Saturday addresses very interesting themes of family life and values with self- confidence, Gillian had this to share: ‘writing about some of our (my brothers and I) personal experiences in our upbringing to help with my grieving process, helped me with my ideas for the book. I wanted the book to embody the importance of family unit, positivity, love for one another and introducing self-confidence at an early age as these were some of the important things that we grew up on and helped made me and my siblings who we are today. I wanted to increase awareness on some benefits that comes with spending time with your loved ones/family which includes;
Improving a child’s overall performance for both social and academic
Creating a safe space for open communication with a child
Developing a sense of belonging for a child
I mean, who wouldn’t want to buy such an amazing fun book that’s filled with positive message on how family time is very influential in one’s life. The ‘Perfect Saturday’ book is currently available on all amazon platforms and now available in Freetown, Sierra Leone’.
At Ariana Diaries, we are fascinated with the impact of the book since its release in June 2021, it’s been encouraging to watch the book influence kids and even adults. It’s such a great read, to the point where some kids won’t fall asleep without the book being read to them.
Gillian told us excitedly that, someone reached out to her to let her know her son cried for hours because they couldn’t find the book.
‘The Perfect Saturday’ is loaded with ideas on how kids can help their parents and other cool family activities. These reviews and have left the author overwhelmed from all the support she is receiving.
She attributes the reception to God whom she believes is directing her in the right path to keep spreading positive messages as the world is in need of so much love and positivity.
What others have to say;
“We loved the book. I like the way you show how children learn from their parents’ actions. It is a positive message.” – Twila
“My son really enjoyed this book. He picked this particular story on his own. A great read for children.” – DB
Through her journey, Gillian has been learning and reinventing herself, she had a few words to share with our readers especially women who might be trying out a new profession or looking to create something.
‘One thing I’ve noticed is that as women in general, we sometimes lack self-confidence in which tends to hold us back from our drive, passion and achieving. One advice that I also utilize is to believe in yourself. If we don’t trust or believe in ourselves, how do we expect others to? As the saying goes, “Believe you can and you’re halfway there”- Theodore Roosevelt. *** Positive Self talk- Instead of doubting myself- what do I have to loose … Put it out there and become faith-based? God led inspired – Think in a positive light’.
Gillian looks up to other African women or of African descent authors, like Chimamanda Adichie and Yaa Gyasi. They are both prominent and dedicated to their work. Their story telling is done in such a way that once you get a hold of their books, you don’t want to put it down. She says this is exactly the kind of experience that she wants for her children’s book. The story should be so fun with messages that children would never forget.