Posted by: Kathy Temean | July 22, 2021

Book Giveaway: Brave in the Water by Stephanie Wildman

Stephanie Wildman has a new picture book Brave in the Water, illustrated by JENNI FEIDLER AGUILAR and published by Lawley Publishing. She has agreed to share a copy with one lucky winner living in the United States.

All you have to do to get in the running is leave a comment. Reblog, tweet, or talk about it on Facebook with a link and you will get additional chances to win. Just let me know other things you do to share the good news, so I can put the right amount of tickets in my basket for you.

Sharing on Facebook, Twitter or reblogging really helps spread the word for a new book. So, thanks for helping Stephanie and Jenni.

If you have signed up to follow my blog and it is delivered to you everyday, please let me know when you leave a comment and receive an extra ticket. Thanks!


Are you afraid to put your face in the water? So is Diante. He would like to play in the pool with other children. He’s not afraid to hang upside down, though, and he’s surprised to learn his grandma is. Can Diante help Grandma and become brave in the water?


One might say my journey to writing Brave in the Water began when I was six years old. My grandfather took me to my first swim lesson. I was not brave. In fact, I did not learn to swim until I was 26 years old, and learning remains the hardest thing I have ever done. I didn’t want my children to grow up fearful of water as I had, and so I took them to swim lessons at an early age. Both loved the water and became competitive swimmers. My daughter coached an award-winning swim team for vulnerable youth, and my son earned a gold medal at the 2008 Olympic games, swimming for Team USA.

But how did all this involvement with swimming become a book, you might be wondering? When I retired from my day job, teaching at Santa Clara University, I knew I wanted to keep writing. I had published nonfiction books, textbooks, and dozens of articles in my life as a law professor. I wanted to focus on fiction, especially fiction for children.

Luckily for me Maxine Rose Schur was teaching a class in writing for children at The Writing Salon, a few blocks from my house. Maxine was a wonderful teacher and mentor. She is the one who suggested this story might be a picture book, and she thought of its title. I learned a lot about children’s book writing, publishing, and querying from that class. And I am a fan of her books – check them out!

I joined SCBWI and found a local critique group. I joined 12 x 12 Picture book challenge. I joined the Writers Grotto. All these colleagues, mentors, and friends read many versions of the story that ultimately became Brave in the Water. Ann Kim, Kirsten Pendreigh, and Jessica Callahan deserve particular mention. It really does take a village; I have been so lucky to have this community of support.

One more important thread that is part of my journey to this book concerns my yoga practice with teacher Jennifer Rodrigue. Jennifer also read many versions of this book to ensure that the story provided an appropriate picture of the yoga technique it teaches. Jennifer’s classes and the yoga practice have enabled me to try this new life adventure with appreciation for endless possibilities.

My previous publishing experiences led me to think that the book’s acceptance by Lawley Publishing, a big celebration point, would put me close to the finish line in my journey. But I had never published a picture book before. Enter the amazing Jenni Feidler-Aguilar who brought the story to life in a way I could not have imagined. As a word person, I truly have a new appreciation for the role of illustrators. I also worked with Cecilia Populus-Eudave who translated the story into Spanish as Valiente en el Agua.

Finally, I have been lucky to find a group of debut children’s book authors at It’s been fun to share this publication journey with other book creators, as we travel together during this pandemic time. Do look for their books – so many good stories.

Thank you, Kathy, for letting me share my journey with Brave in the Water with your readers.


Stephanie M. Wildman, debut picture book author of Brave in the Water, became a Professor Emerita after serving as the John A. and Elizabeth H. Sutro Chair at Santa Clara Law. She directed the school’s Center for Social Justice and Public Service. In 2007 the Society of American Law Teachers, the largest national organization of law school faculty honored her with their Great Teacher Award.

Her most recent books include: Race and Races: Cases and Resources for a Diverse America 3d (with Richard Delgado, Angela A. Harris, Juan F. Perea, and Jean Stefancic) (2015); Social Justice: Professionals Communities and Law (with Martha R. Mahoney and John O. Calmore) (2013) and Women and the Law Stories (with Elizabeth Schneider) (2011). Her book, Privilege Revealed: How Invisible Preference Undermines America, (with contributions by Margalynne Armstrong, Adrienne D. Davis, & Trina Grillo) won the 1997 Outstanding Book Award from the Gustavus Meyers Center for Human Rights.

She has authored dozens of law review articles and journalistic pieces.  She is a grandmother, mother, spouse, friend, good listener, and she is able to sit “criss-cross apple sauce” thanks to her yoga practice.


Jenni is an artist, teacher, mom, wife, and a life-long dreamer. She has always believed that when you put your mind to it, you can achieve your dreams. An Arizona native, Jenni lived one of her first dreams when she moved to Florence, Italy to study art. Following her wanderlust, she completed her student teaching in Managua, Nicaragua, where she met her husband and stayed a few more years.

Having traveled to many other countries during this time, Jenni learned just how incredible our world is, and continues to love learning about other cultures and experiencing life from other perspectives. Jenni now lives back in Arizona with her husband and two beautiful daughters, where she is an Elementary Art Teacher. She is also a practicing artist who has completed public pieces such as murals, chalk art festival pieces, and a fiberglass bench in Downtown Gilbert, as well as many private commissions. If you asked Jenni what she wants to be when she grows up, she wouldn’t give you one answer, because she has many dreams yet to achieve. Yet “children’s book illustrator” is at the top of her list, proving that dreams do, indeed, come true.

I love how your daughter who coached an award-winning swim team for vulnerable youth, and that your Olympic Gold Medal winning swimmer help inspire the book. They always say write about something you know and things around you. It’s nice to read a story where the main character helps someone else, so it is special that he cares enough to help Grandma. Jennie did a good helping to tell the story. Good Luck with the book!

Talk tomorrow,



  1. I LOVE gifting books to kids and reading with them.


  2. tweeted:


    • Kristin,

      Can you send me your name and address? You have won other books that I had to give to someone else, since I could not make contact with you. I tried and tired, but I can’t spend months trying to track someone down. Going to your Twitter Page didn’t help. Please send to Thank you.


  3. I need this book!! My daughter has had such a hard time learning to be brave in the water.

    I subscribe to this blog.


  4. I so get this!


  5. Congratulations Stephanie! This book sounds fantastic for all reluctant swimmers.


  6. What a wonderful story. So many people can relate to this. Congratulations, Stephanie & Jenni!


  7. This is a great summertime story. And the illos look fantastic. Congratulations, Stephanie and Jenni!


  8. Congrats on this wonderful book, Stephanie and Jenny. This book is great for not only reluctant swimmers, but for everyone facing a fear of something. I am sharing this on Twitter and I get your blog by email, Kathy. Thanks!


  9. This looks like a great book — and I’m just as fascinated by Stephanie’s own story. How amazing that she transformed her personal “weakness” into an opportunity for her own children, who then went on to impact so many others. (Kathy, I subscribe to your blog.)


  10. Look forward to reading this book. I definitely can relate to the theme of this book.


  11. I can tell that I will thoroughly enjoy reading this book! Just look at the fun illustrations and the explanation of the story! Congratulations!

    Sharing on Twitter and I follow by email. 🙂


  12. I’m 36 years old, I know how to swim, but not how to put my face in the water, so I can totally relate. 😊 Congratulations, this seems like a wonderful book!


  13. This book reminds me of one of my own ‘works in progress’ so i would love to read it! Looks amazing!


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