Gigi Costa was in the CVS on the Key one day with her son, then 5, asked her for a toy for what had to be the 50th time that week.
She was used to it – the Key Biscayne mom of two boys, like most parents of young kids, fielded requests for new things on a daily basis – and she was prepared. She told him a story she created about a little boy named Oliver who learns that instead of getting new things all the time, it’s a lot more fun to learn the virtue of patience and wait for Christmas morning.
Now, Costa is sharing that charming lesson with other families through her new fully-illustrated children’s book, Have You Heard of the Little Boy Named Oliver?
That day in CVS, “Instead of just saying, ‘No,’ again, the story of Oliver occurred to me and I said it to him,” she said, describing how her fictional Oliver learned the lesson of delayed gratification. “He was instantly captivated. The possibility of experiencing Oliver’s surprising Christmas morning encouraged him to put the toy back on the shelf and wait.”
After watching her own son’s reaction to Oliver’s story, Costa shared it with her friends’ kids. They, too, gravitated toward the idea of waiting for Christmas.
“When I noticed the impact it was having, I knew I was on to something and decided to turn it into a children’s book,” Costa said. “I called my artist friend, Rosie Ruiz, to do the illustrations, and she immediately captured my vision of Oliver.”
While the story and drawings came together almost magically, Costa did face challenges in terms of figuring out the right way to self-publish. After wading through misleading information and unhelpful websites, she finally realized her dream: “It was so great to finally get it published and to show my boys the book on Amazon – they were thrilled,” she said.
Now, Costa hopes other families on the Key and beyond can enjoy Have You Heard of the Little Boy Named Oliver? not only as a sweet story, but as a way to talk to their kids about patience.
“The story is written to inspire children to learn the habit of delayed gratification. Even with the best of intentions, it is so difficult for parents these days to raise kids without a sense of entitlement when most things can be acquired instantly online,” she noted. “We need to find ways to encourage young children that sometimes it is a good thing to wait.”
Indeed, for Costa, the book is the realization of a long-held goal.
“Writing a book has always been a dream of mine. I have always had a love for reading – and a love for books. I am so happy to add my book to my library,” she said.
Key residents and other parents have the same opportunity: Costa will host a book reading and signing Sunday, October 14 at 11 a.m. at Books & Books in Coral Gables, and Have You Heard of the Little Boy Named Oliver? is available for sale on Amazon and at Books & Books.
As for Costa, she said she definitely plans to author more books, and is currently working on a guidebook for girls age 13-30. “I am lucky to have had a Cuban dad who shared great life lessons and tips with me throughout my life,” she said. “As an adult, I realized that not everyone got the same memo – so I want to share his wisdom.”
In the case of Oliver, it’s a lesson all of us – young and old alike – can benefit from.
“Patience is a virtue to learn early in life – especially in today’s world, where children become accustomed to instant gratification at a very early age,” Costa noted.