January 21, 2021
The timeless message of kindness and empathy is as important today as it was 30 years ago.
Karen St. Germain grew up near a vernal pond and looked forward to the peepers rising up from the mud and singing their chorus: the first sounds of Spring. It’s a nostalgic sound for her, and why she chose Peter the Pollywog as the main character of her children’s book, Pardon Me, I’m Perfect. Karen fondly recalled a family member's jest when saying, Pardon Me, so she coupled the phrase with, I’m Perfect, to title her book.
The main character, Peter, is a bully. He coins himself as the strongest, greatest frog around. He sets out on a journey to meet and replace the King. When they meet, Peter learns the King is old, short, fat and to his surprise blind. When Peter expresses his dissatisfaction with the Kings outward appearance, he sends a strong message to Peter.
Epiphany strikes Peter and he recognizes that you shouldn’t judge outward appearance, because what’s on the outside isn’t as important as what’s on the inside.
Karen states, “I wanted to publish this book in the 80’s, but I’d written it in verse and publishers at the time were looking for a narrative. Children have an affinity for music, they can recall and produce a message. It was my hope that writing a story in verse would help children understand and appreciate the message conveyed in the story. I’ve heard from teachers and children that the timeless message of kindness and empathy is clearly understood. That message is as important today as it was 30 years ago.”
To hold the completed book in her hands, to see the essence of Peter’s character come to life displayed in such a physical way and seeing the words come to life was the most gratifying part of the journey for Karen. Her joy was amplified when her husband and daughters expressed their joy and pride for her success.
She concluded with this message of advice, “Don’t give up - don’t get frustrated - stick to, find and follow your voice.”