By Crystal Harrell
With a knack for quirky wordplay, bouncing rhyme schemes, and universal concepts, Palm Desert-based children’s book author Ruthie Darling knows how to tap into stories that both kids and adults love. She already has four illustrated books published under ARK Publishers, with a fifth story due for release sometime this summer, succeeding in accomplishing her aspiring goal of “empowering children and adults through the wonderful world of children’s literature.”
Ruthie was born in New York and grew up in Milwaukee. She spent more than half of her life in the city of Chicago, Illinois, before moving to the Coachella Valley in 2001. Two of her adult children still reside in Chicago while she lives in the desert with her daughter and their pet dog Lucy.
“I was looking for a change. The desert has been like magic for my journey,” revealed Ruthie.
Prior to becoming a children’s book author, Ruthie worked as a grade school teacher, where she got to interact with kids and learn more about the kinds of messages she wanted to portray in her literature.
“Not only do the concepts I write about reach children on an emotional level, but they are universal in nature, so they appeal to adults too. Kids and adults have told me that they love my books, and that tells me I’m creating something that focuses on preserving a sense of morality in today’s world. I love what I do and I do what I love,” said Ruthie.
The author with 40 years of writing experience has cemented her status in the Coachella Valley writing community, taking part in local events like the Desert Writers Expo. Ruthie is even part of the Palm Springs Writers Guild, where she was named Author of the Month in March of 2018.
“I used to dream in rhyme. Something would spark my imagination, and my daughter in one point in time would often call me ‘the Minister of Unsolicited Advice,’” shared Ruthie.
Ruthie’s first children’s book, The Hole Story, tells the tale of a girl that discovers the different kinds of holes in the world and how unique each one can be. This particular book has been praised by math instructors, art instructors, spatially challenged individuals, adult collectors of children’s books, and developmentally disabled children and adults.
Her second story, Miranda the Panda, follows the title character as she escapes from the zoo after seeing that her gate has been left open, and explores the city to learn more about the outside world. “People look elsewhere when everything they need is in front of them!” commented Ruthie about the context of the book.
The third book in Ruthie’s growing collection is Mrs. Libra and Zoey Zebra, which focuses on Zoey wanting to change the stripes on her face while her mother, Mrs. Libra, follows her on a journey of self-acceptance even though she thinks it cannot be done. Children and adults find the plot relatable in its message of familial bonds.
Ruthie’s latest book, Moonbeam, is about the titular unicorn character visiting a human boy with her rainbow friends. The moral of the story centers on accepting appearances and the qualities that make individuals unique, teaching others that it is alright to embrace how you were born.
My Angel Watches Over Me will be released in the summer of 2020, and focuses on preserving kindness, compassion, and friendship in the bonds formed during childhood.
“My mind is constantly bursting with ideas that I can’t wait to write down and release in the form of a book. I am very fortunate to work with talented illustrators to help bring my stories to life. The only downside is that I have to wait for them to finish drawing the pictures before I can see the final product, but it is always worth it,” said Ruthie.
The author has worked with two illustrators: Tricia Cottengaim and Adam Devaney. Cottengaim is a Cal State San Bernardino art major with a Bachelor of Arts in Painting, and Devaney is a freelance artist who has done work for several different outlets.
“Even though my children’s books are available globally through Amazon, I want to try getting them into local schools so that I can directly impact kids. If I can make a difference for just one child when they read one of my books, I’ll know I’ve done my job right,” stated Ruthie.
For more information about Ruthie’s upcoming projects and events, visit ruthiedarling.com.