Interview with Mom’s Choice Award-Winner Angela Legh

Angela Legh MCA Interview Series Featured image

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.

We are delighted to have with us for today’s interview Angela Legh, author of the Mom’s Choice Award-Winning Bella Santini children’s book Bella Santini in the Land of Everlasting Change. Angela has turned a childhood filled with abuse, bullying, and belittlement into sharing with children the tools she developed—emotional management methods—to overcome those difficulties.

For children who need help in navigating through their emotions, Bella’s journey through this magical fairy kingdom can teach kids how to face their fears and uncertainties and plant seeds of wellness in their hearts and minds. For parents wanting to empower their children and help them face life, these delightful books offer a welcome journey of self-discovery.

MCA: Angela, we’re delighted that you could join us today. Please tell us a bit about yourself.

Angela Legh, award-winning author of the children’s fantasy book series, "The Bella Santini Chronicles."

Angela Legh, award-winning author of the children’s fantasy book series, “The Bella Santini Chronicles.”

Angela: I am best known as the author of a children’s fantasy book series, The Bella Santini Chronicles, which gives children and their parents tools and techniques for emotional balance. My life growing up was in some ways challenging—for nearly 50 years, I experienced abuse, bullying, and belittlement. Through that exposure, I developed emotional management methods. In addition to my children’s books, I am a conscious parenting consultant who teaches parents the art of gentle parenting.

I am very in touch with my inner child and love swinging on swings. I love to write stories, paint, dance, travel and sing. My days begin with meditation and reflection; then I’m off to the races writing my books, creating articles for Gravid Parenting Magazine and the Los Angeles Tribune Magazine, and mentoring parents.

MCA: What was your path to becoming a writer like? Was there a particular event or person that inspired you?

Angela: It is interesting to me that about 10 years ago, I kept getting a feeling I was supposed to write a book. I remember talking with my therapist about it and saying I could write about ergonomics. My job then was employee safety; ergonomics was a big part of that. But no matter how much I thought about writing, it didn’t happen.

It wasn’t until several years later that my life took a significant detour when we lost our house in a wildfire. I went into a dark night of the soul, questioning everything. After the fire, I left my job, divorced my husband, and began to travel. I met wonderful people. One of those connections, Lady JB Owen, invited me to write a chapter about my recent challenges to be included in her book, Ignite Your Life for Women. Writing that chapter unlocked my writing ability, and from there, I kept writing!

MCA: What was your inspiration for writing Bella Santini in the Land of Everlasting Change?

Angela: Before the fire, I started writing a little story for my friend’s daughter Isabella. I kept having visions of fantastical things and would write them down. I was nearly two chapters into the story of Bella when the fire destroyed everything, including my computer.

After the writing bug bit me, when I wrote for the Ignite Your Life for Women book, I just kept writing. The story of Bella flowed from my fingertips to fill pages and pages. I eventually had a manuscript with over 50,000 words. When I approached my first publisher, they recommended that I split it into two books based on the age range of potential readers. That was how books 1 and 2 of the series were created.

MCA: As young readers follow the teen girl, Bella, on her adventures in the fairy kingdom, what are some of the key lessons they will learn?

Embracing change: Throughout the book, Bella learns to accept and embrace change as a necessary part of life. She discovers that change can bring about new opportunities and experiences.

Empathy: Bella learns to understand and empathize with others, even those who are different from her. She discovers that everyone has their own story and that struggles, kindness and compassion can go a long way.

Environmental awareness: Bella learns to appreciate the natural world around her and understands the importance of caring for the environment. She learns that every plant and animal is of value, and to treat them with respect and care.

Facing emotions: Bella quickly realizes that emotions aren’t to be feared but are meant to be felt and experienced. She embraces the teachings of the Fae and uses emotional tools to feel her feelings without repressing or rejecting them.

Facing fears: Bella confronts her fears and learns to be brave, even when things seem scary or uncertain. She realizes courage is not the absence of fear but rather the ability to think clearly and act despite her fear.

Friendship: Bella learns the value of true friendship and the importance of supporting and standing up for her friends. She discovers that having friends by her side can help her face any challenge.

Perseverance: Bella never gives up, even when things get tough. She learns to stay determined and work hard to overcome obstacles and achieve her goals.

MCA: These are wonderful lessons. What kind of response from readers have you received?

Angela: I have heard from conscious parents, grandparents, and readers—ages ranging from 10 to 75. They all rave about The Bella Santini Chronicles. Some of the most notable comments come from a mother of an 11-year-old boy—she said he would put down his electronics to have her read my books to him! A conscious mother told me that her 10-year-old daughter, who reads voraciously, said this is the best series she has ever read. A 75-year-old grandmother told me she adores my books. And most surprisingly, a young man in his 20s told me he thought the book was just for kids, but he enjoyed reading it and learned a lot from it. His Goodreads review stated that it was one of the best books he read this year. Both books in the Bella Santini Chronicles series have an average rating on Amazon of 4.9 stars. While my books look like children’s stories, they have a huge appeal to everyone.

MCA: What terrific feedback from readers! If you could ensure readers of your book walk away with one main lesson, what would it be?

Angela: The most important messages in my books center around the importance of feeling and allowing your emotions. Many of us grew up in families that encouraged us to stuff down our emotions and keep a stiff upper lip. “We don’t talk about that.” My story is a prime example of repression—I had an abusive, alcoholic father. I learned to repress my feelings, especially anger because I was not going to grow up to be like him. A few years ago, my aunt commented, “Jimmy was such a sensitive child.” My mind exploded . . . I could see the thread of repressed emotions that played out in our family. My father was an alcoholic because he was trying to numb the feeling of not being “man” enough for his father. He grew up feeling unloved and unworthy, and he had neither the tools nor skills to deal with those feelings.

In Alice Miller’s book, The Body Never Lies: the Lingering Effect of Cruel Parenting, she makes a strong case that repressed feelings from childhood wounding manifest later in life as a disease. My father died of alcoholism; he never learned how to deal with or express his feelings. In The Bella Santini Chronicles, children are encouraged to feel, name, and allow all of their feelings. This process of letting your emotions flow brings emotional freedom, where feelings are neither repressed nor rejected.

MCA: How often does emotional maturity seem to be missing in children’s lives today? What steps would you recommend for parents, caregivers, and teachers to give children the self-empowerment tools and techniques they need?

one of Angela Legh's latest award-winning books, "Bella Santini in the Land of Everlasting Change."

one of Angela Legh’s latest award-winning books, “Bella Santini in the Land of Everlasting Change.”

Angela: Emotional maturity means being able to feel all your emotions, whether they’re painful or not. It also means taking responsibility for your reactions to the things that happen in your environment. When you are triggered by the words or actions of another person, instead of pointing your finger in blame, take responsibility for being reactive to the situation. Then you examine your reactivity and determine its source. Once you know that, you can work to heal that inner wounding so you are no longer triggered by that behavior.

Emotional maturity is missing in so many people’s lives—from our parents to ourselves to our children. We all have emotions, but no one told us how to manage them. Were you taught how to deal with your emotions? Were your parent’s given tools for emotional management, or did they seek to numb emotions? The schools did not teach my children how to deal with their emotions, either. Fortunately, there is now a movement of Social-Emotional Learning, which does help children learn to deal with emotions.

Parents, caregivers, and teachers can learn emotional intelligence from networks such as But many are busy, juggling the overwhelming demands of work and family. This is why I say, “What if teaching your kids emotional intelligence was as easy as reading them a bedtime story, and as a bonus, you learn, too?” If learning emotional maturity can be fun and engaging for both you and your child, you would want that, wouldn’t you?

MCA: Elsewhere you have said, “Children will not likely read self-help books, but they will read stories. In today’s stressful world, parents don’t have time to learn about emotional intelligence; where will they find time to teach it to their kids?” Could you expand on that?

Angela: It was something that occurred to me; I pictured a bookstore and imagined a child marching in and asking for a book on dealing with emotions. I decided that was not very likely—yet they will go into a bookstore to ask for a popular children’s book. I also remember that as a mom of three kids, I didn’t have much spare time. For parents juggling work and home, taking a three-month course on emotional intelligence may seem overwhelming.

Since many parents make time to read to their kids before bedtime, why not read something you both enjoy, that may enlighten you to a higher level of emotional maturity?

MCA: How does the second book in the series build upon the first?

Bella Santini in the Troll War is the second book of the ongoing series and also won a Gold Medal from Mom’s Choice Awards. Bella Santini in the Troll War picks up where book 1, Bella Santini in the Land of Everlasting Change, left off and takes Bella through several new adventures. This book builds on the wisdom Bella develops in the first book, so, yes, it builds on and expands both the story and the emotional intelligence teachings.

MCA: Are there any other books in the pipeline for this series?

So much more is coming! Book 3 of the Bella Santini Chronicles, Princess Bella Visits the Dragon’s Lair, is due to be on Amazon in June.

Book 4 is fully written and edited. I just received the illustrations; the book will be in production and could possibly be released in October.

Book 5 is three-quarters written; I’m waiting for it to be done before I order the illustrations. I know there will be a book 6, but I must first find out what happens at the end of book 5 before I begin plotting. Each book picks up the story from the last book and moves Bella through adventures and challenges that help her learn and grow.

MCA: It sounds like there’s a lot to look forward to with Bella and her magical kingdom! Angela, thanks so much for speaking with us today. We wish you all the best with your continued endeavors!

You can learn more about Angela Legh and her award-winning book, Bella Santini in the Land of Everlasting Change, by visiting her MCA Shop page.

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