Chicken Soup for the Soul Contributor Seeks a Spot on “The Gittle List”

How a sneaker, divorce, and twins led a mom to a career in writing
SAN DIEGO - Nov. 12, 2014 - PRLog -- Children’s book author Michele Christian-Oldham traces her writing career back to a story she wrote about a sneaker in 1988 for her high school’s literary magazine. “My Life as a Sneaker was a humorous tale about what an average teenage-owning sneaker goes through during the course of a day.” It would be 20 years before Michele gave that sneaker another thought.

Life after high school was far more complicated. Writing became a form of therapy for the author. She says, “In 2005, when I faced a tough divorce, along with raising a 5-year old son and 3-year-old twin girls on my own, I sought refuge in writing. It literally saved me.” Michele's children gave her enough material to start writing articles for a twins and triplets organization’s newsletter.

It wasn’t long before Michele was writing newspaper columns and getting her short stories published. Chicken Soup for the Soul picked up her first short story in 2006. By 2013, the popular franchise published three more of her stories.

Back to the sneaker. At a high school reunion, Michele remembered the story she had written two decades earlier. She realized it would make a great children’s book and started the long process toward self-publishing it. Sunny the Sneaker was born. It helped that she reconnected with an old high school friend, Michele Katz, who happens to be an illustrator. It was Ms. Katz who ultimately brought the old sneaker to life.

Ms. Katz also told the author about The Gittle List contest for self-published children’s picture books. Michele says, “Although I have short stories published in well-known books—trying to branch out on your own is tough. I decided to enter Sunny the Sneaker because I felt it was a great opportunity as a first-time publisher to gain exposure.”

Aviva Gittle, owner of Aviva Gittle Publishing and host of the contest, says, “There have only been a few authors who entered their book in The Gittle List contest who have traditionally-published work. I’m looking forward to reading Sunny the Sneaker!”

Michele hopes to win a spot on The Gittle List Top 10 for 2014. Win or lose, Michele has a very special sneaker – and three wonderful children – to thank for kicking off her publishing journey. In fact, she plans to enter her next self-published book, Santa’s Mistake (co-written with her father), into The Gittle List 2015.

The Gittle List is an annual contest exclusively for self-published authors of children’s picture books and is open to authors around the world. Visit the Aviva Gittle Publishing website at to see the 2014 submission guidelines and the 2013 Gittle List winners. Hurry! Deadline is November 30, 2014.

Aviva Gittle Publishing writes and publishes stories for children in English and Spanish. Aviva’s website,, shares the stories of authors, illustrators and others who create books and creative media for children.

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