Longtime Healdsburg resident Lynda Jordan recently published her very first children’s book, “Cloudy the Wonder Horse and his 12 Perfectly Imperfect Friends,” a book that aims to teach readers young and old about the value of diversity. Jordan, who’s writing under the pseudonym “Lexy Jordan,” released the book at the end of September.
The short story, which has been several years in the making, is told from the lens of several farm animals and from a horse, who is based on Jordan’s horse, Cloudy.
“I really wrote it for three reasons,” Jordan said. “I thought it was really a good idea to start with children at a young age and let them know that not only is it OK to be different, but that it is really what makes all of us special, and I think that is really a message that we need at this time. The second reason why I wanted to do it was to support an up and coming artist. So many children’s books are done in illustrations, which I think are great, but I wanted to do something a little different and hire a self-taught artist to do 24 original paintings to tell the story.”
Jordan completed the book four years ago, but she had been waiting to find the right artist to partner with. Jordan eventually brought self-taught artist Kimberly Ingraham Valentin on board and together they completed the project.
Each painting is done with acrylic paint and layers of colored pencil.
“They are very vivid and they all kind of have a different look and feel,” Jordan said.
Each painting of the main character Cloudy is based on a photograph of him doing the exact motion or pose in real life.
“Some of the animals are real and some are made up and most of the scenery is made up, but it’s nice to know that what Cloudy is doing (in the paintings) is what he actually does,” Jordan said.
The other reason why Jordan wanted to write the book was so she could give back in some way. For every 10 books sold, 25% of all profits will go toward animal rescue organizations.
“My goal is I’d start doing donations to local animal rescues. I haven’t said what animal rescue because I want the option to be able to help national programs or other programs as well, but my intent is to really focus on local,” she said.
In addition to donating to animal groups, Jordan is donating books to local schools and libraries. So far she’s donated books to Alexander Valley School, Westside School, the Healdsburg Library, Live Oak Preschool and The Healdsburg School.
So why write the book from the perspective of animals? Jordan said she believes animals can both enrich our lives and teach us things that other beings can’t.
“I am amazed by what animals teach us. They enrich our lives and they teach us that things that we get wrapped up in aren’t really that important,” she said.
“I think that at a young age children don’t really see differences as much, they just know that they like people and I really think if we start young that hopefully overtime we’ll have a more tolerant community,” she said. “I see so much divisiveness right now that’s disturbing, and I think the more you see something in common with someone the more that prevents that and so that’s why there are so many differences in the book. There’s adoption in the book, there’s disability in the book and there’s different languages in the book.”
In terms of the reader level of the book, Jordan said the book can really be for anyone. In fact, the reading level information on the book says, “From the womb to the young at heart.”
“A quote from someone who had the book said they were reading it to their grandchildren and all of a sudden as their adult children were packing they realized the house was very quiet because they had decided they were listening to the book too,” Jordan said.
When asked what her favorite part of the book is, Jordan said the ending, however, she didn’t want to give any details so as to not spoil the conclusion.
Instead, she read and discussed a different part of the book that she also loves.
“Cloudy’s third friend is Dahlia, a miniature donkey. Her ears are longer than her legs and she is wider than she is tall. She is so short she can walk under cloudy and tickle his belly with her ears. Cloudy doesn’t mind that Dahlia is so short. He likes her that way. The reason that is one of my favorite parts is because the painting reminds me of a Monet because Cloudy is standing in a lavender field with a little miniature donkey,” Jordan said.
What she did say about the book’s ending is that some parents reported that it made them cry.
Jordan’s journey with horses and writing
Jordan started riding horses while growing up in the midwest and she eventually went on to compete at high levels and won several trophies. She took a break from riding when she went to college and spent time traveling.
About 12 years ago she was once again able to have a horse and board it and now she’s back to riding and spending time with Cloudy.
“People frequently remarked about his big stature and his sweet face. His personality is very playful and loving,” Jordan said of her horse and although she does not have children, a friend encouraged her to write a children’s book about Cloudy.
Cloudy is currently boarded at Renaissance Farms near Healdsburg.
Jordan got involved with writing after studying business in college. She was also a business executive and owned the UPS Store in town for several years. She said while she was never trained in writing she would get good feedback on her writing even if it was just a written proposal.
“It’s a gift and I’m just trying to share that gift,” she said.
To learn more about Jordan and the book, visit: https://www.cloudythewonderhorse.com/.