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Catherine Gibson tells us all about ‘For children with love’

catherine gibson
Copyright: Catherine Gibson

Catherine Gibson has spent many years giving her love to others through her work. The dance teacher and author of children’s books uses writing to convey acceptance, kindness, and inclusion. Gibson’s books continue to charm and have received the recognition of the Mom’s Choice Award, Women of the Year for her book Gracie Saves the Day, and the Mark Twain Award for Daisy Mae Finds Her Way.

Catherine Gibson and Dennis Schleicher are soon launching their talk show, Keeping it Real, on YouTube. They both have wit, years of broadcasting experience, and an in-depth knowledge of the issues people want to hear about. Notable people, including celebrities, athletes, and more, will provide their opinions, while the show’s whole tone will give a positive experience for its viewers.

We interview Catherine Gibson to learn more about her foundation For Children With Love.

How did your idea for your foundation, For Children with Love, start?

I have taught dance for most of my life, but at some point, I realized I wanted to learn sign language. So I joined the American School of the Deaf and started donating my time to teaching the children at the school dance.

The love and warmth I received from my students inspired me to write children’s books. Creating the foundation was my way to become a voice for others while giving back to the charities I support. Through For Children With Love, people can donate books to hospitals, schools, etc., or they can donate money with a tax write-off for children’s or animal charities. 

It’s challenging to teach dancing at the best of times, but you have taught deaf children to dance. How was that?

It is incredible, and deaf children love to dance. My calling to become a voice for the deaf came from my dance students at the American School of the Deaf in West Hartford, Connecticut. On seeing me approach the class, they would all run up to me, wrap their arms around me, and shuffle into class together. These wonderful children, so full of love, inspired my first book!

In my first two books, Sophie’s Eyes and Sophie Discovers Synchronized Swimming, I decided to include sign language on each page to help more children learn the importance of communicating with the deaf.

What issues are most important to address in your books?

I want children to embrace their differences, and in What’s Your Something Special, the book’s heroine, Samantha, can’t do what other kids do because she’s in a wheelchair. However, her encounter with a circus magician who gives her a pair of special sunglasses helps her realize that her heart makes her special, not her wheelchair.

Through all my books, including Coach Bob & Me, Lily Loves Books, Gracie Saves the Day! and Daisy May Finds Her Way, I address issues like bullying, perseverance, and giving kindness.

You also have a YouTube show? What’s that about?

Yes, I host the Kidz Fun Squad on the Zigazoo app with creative director, editor, and puppeteer Michael Lachance. The show aims to instill education and values in kids through fun. We present our message of kindness and how kids can deal with daily situations. In addition, children learn about making friends and being friends with our puppets, Bluesy, Domenic, and Robin.

Who are the people who inspire you most?

Many people have inspired me to become a positive voice that helps others, especially children. However, two extraordinary women have played the most significant role in the direction I have taken, and I am very fond of both.

The first is my dance teacher Helyn Flanagan. She is 102 years young and taught me more than just the discipline of dance. Her perseverance and kindness made a deep impression on me, and I have practiced everything she taught me throughout my life and used them to create these beautiful stories.

The second is the actress and animal activist Betty White. White endorsed my book Daisy Mae Finds Her Way, a multi-layered story delivering several vital messages.

Thank you, Catherine. As we finish, can you tell us about your upcoming plans?

Our talk show Keeping it Real, is a huge step toward what I have always dreamed of achieving. I want to do more TV shows that provide positive messages, like Sesame Street or Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, teaching children about the respect they deserve. I also want to do more inspirational speaking on TV and continue helping others through For Children With Love

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