The following is an excerpt from the children’s book about building self-esteem titled, The Adventures of Lulu.
The sun was almost always shining on the big house with two windows on each side of the front door that made it look like a happy face (with the steps leading to the porch as the smile). Lulu loved to play outside in the yard, sometimes under the trees and sometimes on the tire swing, and sometimes with her little brother, Barry.
Lulu knew that there was always something fun to do, and she woke up each morning excited to find out what would happen that day.
On this morning, Lulu woke to the sounds of raindrops falling on the tree outside the window. She loved the rain, and as she got out of bed, she decided to show her little brother, Barry, the wet weather. He was very young and couldn’t get out of his crib by himself yet.
Barry laughed as Lulu picked him up and took him to the window. He still couldn’t talk very well, and when he said Lulu’s name, it sounded like, “Wuwu.”
“Wuwu, wawa!” Barry yelled, jumping up and down.
“It’s rain, Barry,” his big sister explained. “It makes the trees grow and the flowers bloom and makes everything fresh and beautiful!”
Barry laughed again.
Suddenly, Lulu heard a sound in the distance-a funny kind of sound: “Wah! Wah!” Somebody was crying. Lulu thought they might be hurt, so she lifted Barry back into his crib and went downstairs to put on her raincoat. She took her umbrella with the flowers on it and hurried out the back door to see who was crying.
As she walked across the lawn, she saw a frog sitting under a tree enjoying the rain. “Good morning, Mr. Frog,” Lulu greeted him. “It’s a beautiful morning, isn’t it?”
“Beautiful! Wet and rainy!” agreed Mr. Frog. “It would be perfect except for that crying.”
“Do you know who it is?” Lulu asked.
“No,” Mr. Frog answered, “but it’s coming from the pond.
Why don’t we hop over there together.” And with that, he hopped off as Lulu followed behind him.
As they got near the pond, the cries became louder and louder: “Wah! Wah!” Lulu listened carefully and went to a patch of tall grass. Mr. Frog jumped beside her.
They both poked their heads into the grass, and sitting inside was a little yellow duck, crying his eyes out.
“Wah! Woe is me!” wailed the little duck. Lulu put her hand on the duck’s head and softly stroked it.
“Why are you crying?” she asked.
The little fellow raised his head. “Oh, nobody likes me- nobody at all,” he sobbed.
“No one?” asked the frog. “I’d say that’s pretty serious.”
Lulu continued to pet the little duck. “Well, I like you. What’s your name?”
The duckling looked up and dried his eyes. “My name is Willy.”
“Well, my name is Lulu, and this is Mr. Frog. Maybe we can help you,” Lulu offered.
“Why do you think no one likes you?”
Willy sat up and said, “This morning I was playing ball with some of the farm animals from down the street. Gary the Goat threw the ball to me, and when I tried to catch it, I tripped over my feet and fell in the mud and lost my cap! Oh, woe is me!”
“But Willy, what’s so horrible about that?” Lulu asked. “It was an accident, and you didn’t hurt yourself, did you?”
“No,” Willy sniffled, “but then Clarice the Calf called me ‘Willy Bigfoot,’ and everybody started laughing. They wouldn’t stop, so I ran away, and now I have no more friends!”
Lulu petted Willy’s head some more. “Oh, Willy,” she exclaimed, “don’t you know that the best friend you can ever have is YOU?”
“But I don’t like me!” Willy cried. “I’m dumb and clumsy!”
Mr. Frog looked at Willy and laughed. “Willy, you have no idea how many times I’ve tripped over my own two feet. Mine are much bigger than yours. It’s really not such a terrible thing. It’s just how you look at it. I’ve seen you in the pond, and you’re a very good swimmer-better than I am. That’s something to be proud of.”
Willy felt a little better.
“And last week I saw you rescue Baby Kitten when she fell into the pond. Mama Cat was so happy, and she thought you were so brave,” Mr. Frog continued.
“She did?” Willy asked.
“You see,” Lulu added, “there are many good things about you. You just haven’t been looking for them. You know what I do when I’m feeling bad?”
“What?” Willy asked.
“In my room I have a mirror, and I call it my Magic Mirror. Inside this mirror is my very best friend. She’s always going to be there for me, and when something goes wrong, she can make me feel better. And I can make her feel better, too.”
“But I don’t have a Magic Mirror,” Willy said.
Lulu leaned close to the little duck. “I can take you to mine. Your best friend will be there, too.”
Willy got so excited! “Oh, take me to your Magic Mirror, please!” he squealed.
“Okay,” Lulu answered. “Follow me. Do you want to go, too, Mr. Frog?”
Mr. Frog took a look at the pond and said, “I think I’ll stay here and go swimming. Nothing like a good swim in the morning. Gets the blood going, you know?” And with a splish-splash, he was gone.
Lulu and Willy started back toward the house. “You see, Willy,” Lulu began, “what you think about yourself will come true, so you don’t want to think bad things.”
“You mean I’m dumb and clumsy because I think I am?” Willy asked.
“Of course,” Lulu answered. “One time at school, I was running a race, and I was sure that I couldn’t win it. I kept telling myself, ‘Oh, Lulu, you’ll never win,’ and guess what happened?”
“You didn’t win?” Willy guessed.
“Right! So the next time, I decided to say over and over to myself, ‘You can do it! You can do it!’ and you know what?”
“You won!” Willy shouted.
“Yes!” Lulu said. “It really made a difference.”
Finally, they arrived at Lulu’s house. They walked through the front door, past the kitchen, down the hall, up the stairs, and into Lulu’s room. Next to her bed on the wall was the Magic Mirror.
Willy shouted with joy, “Oh, I’m going to meet my best friend! I’m going to meet my best friend!”
Lulu set a chair in front of the mirror and told Willy to shut his eyes. Willy did as he was told, and Lulu put him on the chair.
“Okay, now when you open your eyes, you’ll see your best friend. This is the person who will always be with you and who will never leave you. . . . Open them now!”
Willy opened his eyes and was surprised to find that he was looking at himself. “But it’s just me,” he said.
“That’s right,” Lulu replied. “No matter what happens to you in your life, your best friend is always going to be yourself.
Say something nice to yourself.”
Willy felt shy. “Hello,” he ventured quietly, then turned to Lulu. “I don’t know what to say.”
“Tell him about the nice things that were said about you today,” Lulu suggested.
“You’re a good swimmer, and Mama Cat thinks you’re brave,” Willy said.
“That’s good,” Lulu encouraged him. “Can you say, ‘I love you’?”
“That sounds silly,” Willy replied.
“Just try it,” she pleaded.
Willy looked at himself in the mirror. “Well,” he began again, “I love you, and I’m sorry that I thought you were dumb and clumsy.”
And you know what? Willy felt a little better.
He tried again, “I love you, I really love you,” and he felt even better. The more he said it, the better he felt.
“Oh, Lulu,” he cried, “I’ve never felt so good about myself!”
Lulu was so happy for Willy. Now he would know that no one is ever really alone as long as they have themselves.
It was getting late now, and it was time for Willy to go home.
“Oh, Lulu,” Willy sighed, “I wish I could take your Magic Mirror with me.”
“You don’t need to have my mirror, Willy,” Lulu explained. “Any mirror will do. In fact, the pond you live in is the best mirror of all.”
“Thank you!” he exclaimed. “Then I can look into the pond every day and see my best friend.”
“And you’ll remember to say nice things to yourself?” Lulu asked. “Be sure to say, ‘I love you, I really love you.'”
“Oh yes!” Willy replied. He happily sang, “Willy, I love you, I really love you!” as he and Lulu walked down the stairs, through the hall, and past the kitchen where Barry was now sitting in his high chair.
When Barry saw Willy walk by, he shouted, “Ducky!”
Lulu smiled as she heard her mother answer, “Now, Barry, there are no ducks in the house.”
Outside, the rain had stopped, and the sun was shining brightly. Lulu and Willy were walking back to the pond when they found all of Willy’s friends.
Gary the Goat asked, “Where have you been, Willy? Here’s your cap. We’re playing ball, and we need you on our team.”
“I’ve been visiting with my best friend,” Willy answered proudly. He turned to Lulu and asked her to bend down because he had a secret to tell her.
Lulu bent down close, and quick as a wink, Willy gave her a kiss on the cheek. “Thank you, Lulu,” he said. “You’ve given me a wonderful new friend today.”
“You’re welcome,” Lulu smiled. “But remember, you have to keep being a friend to yourself just like you would any other friend. The more you love yourself, the happier you’ll be-you’ll see.”
And with that, Willy waved to Lulu and ran off with his friends to play ball.