“I love to write,” Dr. Lynn Schechter said, explaining that she comes from a long line of literary people, including a grandmother who was one of the first graduates of Wellesley College, English teacher and Dean of a high school. “I’ve always written, whether it was poetry or journaling. I’m a creative person, and I just love to write.”
When her practice in New York and then in Louisiana led her to work with many overweight children, she began to have a growing concern for the struggles of these youngsters. “I saw how they were bullied and teased,” she said, “and how often they were eating out of emotional reasons, turning to food much as adults can.”
She stated that obesity was a multi-factorial problem, and often there are medical issues involved. But her collaborations with pediatricians alerted her to the need for behavioral approaches for these children. And she said, “I saw how often they were eating out of emotional reasons. Many had histories of trauma, anxiety and depression.” Lynn said, “I was motivated by care and a great concern for how these kids are suffering from being overweight.”
But when looking for a children’s book for them, she found “absolutely nothing. There were books for adults about emotional eating. But not one book for children.”
Lynn wrote her book in about an hour and a half, in a flurry of activity. But getting published was a bit different. “It was a journey, a fortuitous and challenging journey,” she said. First, she sent out thirty inquiries and received thirty rejections. Then her book sat for a year until she decided to self-publish. It took another year to find an illustrator, publish, and create sales via a website. But as her work began to be acknowledged and praised, and sales increased, a trip back to APA’s children’s books division, Magination Press, yielded an enthusiastic request from an editor to republish her work.
My Big Fat Secret: How Jenna Takes Control of Her Emotions and Eating is a publication of the American Psychological Association’s children’s book division, Magination Press. It is the featured selection this month and can be purchased at www.maginationpress.com
Dr. Schechter currently works in private practice in Baton Rouge, specializing in psychoeducational assessment and treatment of learning disabilities, attention disorders, developmental and emotional and behavioral problems, emphasizing a culturallysensitive family approach. Her degrees are from Cornell and Columbia University, and she has worked in schools, public clinics, hospitals, and private practice.
In 2007 she presented a paper about experiences as a helper in post 911, post Katrina and Gustav, at APA. It was published in the journal, Traumatology, a Sage Publication.