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Author Spotlight: Kai the Loneliest Palm Tree by Cindi Handley Goodeaux

Cindi Handley Goodeaux, the author of Kai the Loneliest Palm Tree, answered some questions for us about her experience publishing a children's book.

Kai is a happy little tree living alone on a tiny island. Every day she watches wildlife

and boats pass by, hoping one might visit to become her friend and share the

beautiful view. New friends come but are soon gone. Life is good, but Kai is lonely.

Will anyone ever share her island home?

What messages are seen in your story?

This book is about friendship, hope, kindness, and resilience. There is a repeating

message about life being wonderful accompanied by gorgeous watercolor


The Inspiration Behind the Pages

Cindi's story was inspired by an article depicting love birds, a non-native species becoming a nuisance in Hawaii. She felt compelled to write them a new home.

The Challenges of Publishing

Initially, Cindi wrote the story after challenging herself to draft a story within 24 hours. Even though the inial draft was completed quickly, it has taken lots of editing and refinement to transform into the finished book.

"My publisher challenged me to write more interactions for Kai with wildlife as well as adding how she ended up on that island alone," Cindi stated. "Producing those additions felt like the hardest part."

The End of the Journey

Cindi admitted that she cried when writing the story's final pages.

"It just felt like such a sweet ending to the story. The illustrator captured that in Kai’s emotional reaction in the final illustration."

Every Author Needs Support

Every January, Cindi explained she participates in Storystorm, a challenge to generate thirty story ideas in thirty-one days. During that challenge, she not only shared her ideas but was able to learn from other authors and illustrators. Participating in that challenge directly led to her writing this and several other books.

More About Cindi Handley Goodeaux

Cindi Handley Goodeaux lives in Florida with her husband and muse. She is a proud mom, graphic designer, and sometime poet. She is also the award-winning author of eight children's books with themes of kindness, friendship, and inclusion. Cindi is also a former professional clown named Giggle Blossom. Her time wearing big shoes and a red nose while entertaining at events and parties influences her writing. As a lifelong disability advocate, she serves on the board of her employer’s disability affinity group, advocating for rights for people with disabilities (PWD) in the workplace and statewide. Cindi uses her Jellibean Adventures series to carry that message to children. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and a professional Cat Writers Association (CWA) member.


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