St. Louis author hopes to inspire parents to let kids ‘Fly!’

Ellie Grossman Cohen, Special to the Jewish Light

Roots and wings, the two greatest gifts parents can give their children, are the foundation for Sheri Glantz’s new book, “Fly!” which launched just in time for Mother’s Day.

The idea of the book was born when her middle child, Corey, graduated from preschool and was about to take that big leap into kindergarten. That son is now 27 and a sales manager at a local beer distribution company.

Glantz and her husband, Barry, who is the mayor of Creve Coeur and her favorite travel companion and tennis partner for the last 34 years, are also parents to Marissa and Evan and his wife, Lauren, who made them grandparents to 11-month-old grandson Henry.

“I knew that, at some point, ‘Fly’ would be a book,” said Glantz, who is affiliated with Congregation Shaare Emeth and Central Reform Congregation. “It holds the ideals, values, dreams and ponderances that I wished for all of my children and, I believed, that other parents held for theirs. Seven years after penning the original poem, I wrote a continuation of my composition and incorporated it into my son’s creative bar mitzvah service.”

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Glantz, who is a former preschool and music teacher, is also the author of “G.I.F.T.E.D. (Guiding Ideals For True, Enduring and Devoted) Love,” her first book, which is a compilation of photographs and snippets of wisdom about relationships.

“Fly!” is not Jewish in content, but it is in context. Proverbs, for example, teaches: “Train up a child in the way he should go, and even when he is old, he will not depart from it.” And the “Lech Lecha” parsha in Genesis, translates to “Go!” or “Leave!” – literally, “Go for you,” meaning a child must separate from the comfort of home to discover himself and be independent.

This delicate balance of holding on and letting go is a universal struggle, and Glantz conveys these complex emotions with honesty and grace, using minimal words, flowing rhymes and characters that are not gender specific. In addition, charming watercolor illustrations by local artist Tori Nelson ties the heartstrings together.

“When children are firmly rooted to their heritage, family customs and religion, it does not matter how far they might physically travel from their homes,” Glantz said. “They carry those things with them and ultimately pass them on to their own children.

“When parents give their kids the space and grace to fly, whether kids realize it or not, they take along the toolbox (and in this case, backpack) that they have been filling up along the way.”

The timeless theme of “Fly!” makes it a good read for all generations and backgrounds, ages “2 to 102,” Glantz said. The book is also a remedy for many people feeling the affects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Stephen Cohen, special events coordinator at the Mirowitz Center at Covenant Place, where Glantz held a free Zoom book event, said: “The theme of the book will resonate with all parents and grandparents, especially in the times we are living. With the restrictions and limitations on interacting with other family members because of COVID, we are looking for activities that will connect our community with their family members.”

Glantz, a native of Houston, is the founder of Cre8ive Writes, which provides personal and professional writing services for individuals and businesses. She has a knack for capturing bittersweet feelings in poetry, songs, parodies and speeches on a variety of timely topics, such as the coronavirus pandemic, the impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump, the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, unity and divisiveness, 9/11, George Floyd, the synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh, and whatever is on her mind and the pulse of the nation.

“I write to entertain and reflect sentiments that might otherwise be hard to articulate,” she said. “I’m inspired by life, love, hope and the desire to find authenticity in my world, and I’m delighted to share my insights with the public.”

The e-book version of “Fly!” will be released on Amazon on April 20, with all proceeds from the first 24 to 48 hours going to Best Buddies Missouri, which offers programs to educate and empower young people with and without intellectual and developmental disabilities to become leaders, public speakers and advocates.

The printed books will be available on Amazon. For a signed copy, contact Glantz at [email protected]