By Liz Sullivan
Todd Courtney admitted the idea for his new children’s book series did not happen overnight. The process began 10-12 years ago and has blossomed into a new career for him and his wife Jackie.
The Courtneys, parishioners at Holy Spirit Parish in San Jose, are the authors of soon-to-be four books that are part of a series of Inspirational Nursey Rhymes that they describe as the “World’s first self-help books for toddlers!” It’s something they believe so strongly in that they trademarked the phrase.
The books focus on the central character called Max the Mouse, who teaches children about responsibility, giving thanks, getting inspired and being responsible. The series was launched in the fall of 2015 and currently they have sold about 1,500 books.
Inspirational Nursery Rhymes were scientifically written to help a child excel into and through adulthood. Rhymes were created to help with learning as far back as the Romans and by reading the rhymes daily, a child will be programmed with limitless possibilities.
The parents of three, Jackie Courtney has spent most of her life as an elementary school teacher (K-3) and Todd is an insurance broker.
“I’m a self-help junkie,” said Todd Courtney. “I have read all the books and just came to the realization that I wanted to do something different with my life.
This second career for the Courtneys began when Todd started teaching business classes to his clients. He realized he could do the same with children and that is where his true passion lies: helping the youth understand they too can create the life they truly dream of.
“I realized most of the youth get trapped in the same cycles as their parents,” he said. “The parents cannot teach their children what they don’t know or don’t understand. I soon discovered it was easier to teach children then adults.”
Before the Courtneys wrote the first book they created a video for children experiencing Leukemia called “Just Imagine If … You Were Leukemia Free!”
From there the Courtneys researched the market and realized a lot more work needed to be done to help the youth during this time of a rapidly changing world.
“If we expect our youth to change the world, we have to start changing our youth,” said Todd Courtney, who has also written a book for teens called, “Thinking in One Direction.” The book’s subtitle is “What Most Teens and Young Adults Haven’t Got a Clue About, But All Need To Know To Create An Incredible Life.”
Except for the illustrations, which they work with someone in India on, the Courtneys are doing most of the work themselves. They do not have a publisher and are relying on word of mouth, social media and the local community to spread the word about Max the Mouse.
Last spring, they held a book signing at the Barnes & Noble in Almaden and sold 145 books in two hours. At the Barnes & Noble in Steven’s Creek, they sold 80 books during a signing. The Courtneys have also had events at other parishes throughout the Diocese of San Jose.
“I have been latching on to the Mommy bloggers and pushing it through social media,” said Jackie Courtney.
The Courtneys are on the lookout for a publisher to help take their message nationwide. The couple has attended Book Expo America in Chicago, which features the latest in print and digital book publishing.
“Right now we have a handful of publishers interested,” said Todd Courtney. “We want to find the one who really loves it.”
Learn more about the books at www.InspirationalNurseryRhymes.com.
“We have had a lot of fun with it so far,” said Todd Courtney. “It has been a fantastic journey.”