I find women veterans fascinating. Women all over the country have been raising their collective voices in the #metoo campaign, sharing stories of sexual violation. From Harvey Weinstein to Bill Cosby, we are seeing evidence of how years of protected patriarchy leaves women vulnerable to abuse. So, there is something powerful about a woman soldier. Vera Harris is a 30-year veteran of the U.S. Army having earned the distinguished honor of being the first female Command Sergeant Major to serve in an Armored Cavalry Regiment during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Vera has taken on a different battle in her retirement from the armed forces; that of an author of children’s books. I had the honor of interviewing her recently.
Why do you write children’s books?
I was inspired by my grandson to write children’s picture books because I wanted not only my grandson but other children to develop a love for reading. I enjoy reading. I have been a reader all my life and I noticed that my grandson struggled with reading. So, I decided to write easy sight words so that kids like him could develop the courage to read (and) would enjoy what reading brings. Reading will help them develop into leaders and productive citizens. In my experience, most readers are great leaders and introducing children to the art of reading will help kids become great leaders in school, in their communities and in their circle of friends.
What impact do you hope your books will have on others?
The main impact that I hope my books will have on others to encourage young children to enjoy and develop a love for reading books so that the love of books will follow them into adult life.
What was the biggest obstacle to you becoming an author and how did you overcome it?
One of the biggest obstacles to becoming an author is writing books that will engage young minds. I am learning more from veteran authors, from training, and conferences that specialize in helping authors improve their writing. I write from experience and from my imagination, so I am constantly working on books that will open up children’s imagination as well.
What should we expect from Vera Harris in the future?
I am excited about the future! I am currently working on my fourth children’s picture book which will be released in 2018. And since becoming a published author, I have been invited to speak at some events. I am enjoying and learning so much on this journey!
From defending our freedom as Americans to championing literacy for children, Ms. Harris is a true American Hero. You can connect with Ms. Harris by the following: