By Sarah Kuper
Vestavia Hills author Tera Howard recently published her second in a series of children’s books.
The book, “Mommy, Where Are You?” handles questions a child might ask of a working mother.
It’s a conversation Howard knows well.
Although she is a published author, writing children’s books is not what she calls her “day job.”
Howard is an obstetrician and gynecologist at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She spends long days, nights and weekends delivering babies and caring for patients.
She’s also a mother and wife.
“My little girl serves as the primary inspiration for the books. This book introduces the idea of working moms to young ones in an inspirational and educational way,” Howard said.
“Mommy, Where Are You?” communicates to children that, while mom is away at work, she is making a difference in other people’s lives through her career.
Howard said the book is not just for children. It is a message working moms need to hear.
“The most common reaction I get when I hand it to women is that they start crying. They are away from their children trying to make a difference, but they have feelings of guilt and longing,” she said. “This book tells kids it is OK and it tells moms it is OK.”
Howard said the message is an important one, so she chose to make the book simple and short – an easy but important read for a busy, working mom.
“When I was in residency, I didn’t have much time and I had a hard time keeping my eyes open to read to my 2-year-old. I needed something short and inspirational to read to my child,” she said.
The first book in the series, “Mommy, What’s That?” helps parents teach children about their body parts in a way that helps them understand their function and potential.
With each body part, Howard writes about how it can make a difference and be used in a positive way.
Howard plans to continue the series following the same pattern, in which a child asks Mommy a question and the answer is practical but inspiring.
Howard spent many years training to be an Ob/Gyn before practicing at UAB, but when it comes to publishing, she said she had to take a crash course.
“How do you go from being a physician to an author? When you have a real desire to do something you find a way,” she said.
As an independent publisher, Howard does not have a major publishing house behind her to help market and distribute the book, but she said she has gotten a lot of positive feedback because of the book’s message.
“Mommy, Where Are You?” is available on Amazon and barnesandnoble.com, in The Little Professor bookstore in Homewood and Barnes and Noble at the Summit.