Mom’s Choice Awards is excited to announce another post in our interview series where we chat with the inventors, designers, publishers, and others behind some of our favorite family-friendly products.
Hello, Mom’s Choice readers! Thank you for joining us for another segment of our interview series! For this interview, we were able to speak with Gerrie Lewis, author and creator of the MCA award-winning book, Pickleball Patsy! Pickleball Patsy is about a young girl who loves to win and comes to learn important lessons about sportsmanship. Pickleball Patsy is the perfect book for young readers to learn the importance of good sportsmanship and how it builds teamwork, character, respect, and kindness. Keep reading to find out more about Gerrie Lewis and her award-winning book, Pickleball Patsy!
MCA: Hi Gerrie! Congratulations on winning a Mom’s Choice Award for Pickleball Patsy! Pickleball Patsy is a great read that teaches a very important lesson that every young reader could learn from. Tell us about yourself!
Gerrie: I was born in upstate New York and moved to Los Angeles at an early age. The school was very difficult for me due to my dyslexia. Art on the other hand became my silver lining and enabled me to communicate my ideas. After graduating from High School I began my journey as a self-taught artist. I never dreamed I could become an author.
In my first years of becoming an artist, I was a graphic designer in the printing industry. It was a year later when my work change due to my daughter Rachel persuading me to utilize my artistic talents in the environmental arena. Rachel was worried about the sustainability of our planet for the future generation. Her passion inspired me to open an environmental marketing and advertising firm. The firm’s specialty was designing recycled products and environmental outreach programs. Over ten years my client base grew from small to large government agencies, to major studios such as Disney, Warner Brothers, and large corporations. It was during this I wrote my first children’s storybook “The Secrets Of The Dump.” The book came with a recycled soft plush doll named Popsi whose stuffing, body, and clothing was spun from recycled plastic bottles.
Popsi and her storybook became the cornerstone of educational cross-curriculum taught in schools and universities across the United States. The background story of my creation became a hit and was published in over fifty-five newspapers and magazines nationwide, including a LA time front cover story. The success of Popsi inspired me to write my second story “Popsi The Daughter Of Mother Nature.” This book was awarded my first MCA Gold Award. In addition, the book also won Dr. Toys’ best green product of 2019. I still continue to write Popsi stories and recently finished a series.
Today when I’m not writing cautionary tales and uplifting stories for children, you can often find me on a pickleball court in La Quinta California. It’s during a game of pickleball that my current Mom’s Choice Award story came to me “Pickleball Patsy And Her Lucky Pickle.” Through the game of pickleball, I found another way of crafting a story that carries valuable lessons.
In addition, I’m an accomplished professional artist, that creates photographic art that focuses on the environment. My work is shown in galleries in Los Angles and New York. I also mentor children to help them understand the importance of following their dreams, even if they have obstacles to overcome – just Pickleball Patsy.
MCA: You can really get a feel of your artist background when reading Pickleball Patsy. What was your path to becoming a writer like? What inspired you?
Gerrie: I never thought I could be a writer due to my learning disability. I was always told, “You can’t spell.” Even though I was discouraged from writing my artistic ability to visualize and getting down to a child’s level of thinking helped to fuel my desire to become a storyteller. My passion to make a difference in the quality of life for children and is what inspires me to write.
MCA: Your story is very inspiring and motivational and I think it’s safe to say you are living out your passion! How did the book come to be through friendship?
Gerrie: Before playing pickleball, I jokingly asked my friend Patsy Pelaia “How is it going, pickleball Patsy?” While playing pickleball with some sour losers, the story came to me. I quickly rushed home to capture the moment, but it was Patsy who pursued me to bring the story to publication. Patsy once studied to become an elementary teacher and she knew children would love the story and learn some important lessons. Like a great friend, Patsy never gave up believing that “Pickleball Patsy And Her Lucky Pickle” would bring a warm smile and wonderful lessons to children.
MCA: Bringing a warm smile and wonderful lessons to children is something that Pickleball Patsy definitely accomplishes. What are some of the key lessons found in Pickleball Patsy?
Gerrie: The importance of good sportsmanship and how it builds teamwork, character, respect, and kindness. I hope that the book enables children to remember throughout life that when friends help friends overcome their obstacles, everyone’s a winner.
MCA: Such a great lesson and one that is so important for children to learn early on so they don’t grow up to be like the sour pickleball players that inspired Pickleball Patsy! What kind of response from readers have you received?
Gerrie: We are getting a great response from parents. The kids love the gummy worms, the pickle, and Patsy’s sour face. They also want to know about the game of pickleball and how to play. We had one young reader through zoom read the story to her classmates.
MCA: Pickleball is such a fun game to get into! If you could ensure readers of your book walk away with one main lesson, what would it be?
Gerrie: That you don’t need a lucky pickle to be a winner in life. The luckiest thing you can win is friendship.
MCA: That is wonderful. Thank you, Gerrie!
You can learn more about Gerrie Lewis and her award-winning book, Pickleball Patsy, by visiting her MCA Shop pages.