Author and speaker, Jessica Sinarski’s LPCMH superpower is making brain science accessible and entertaining for children and adults alike. Extensive post-graduate training and 15+ years as a therapist, consultant, and educator led her to create the resource and training platform—BraveBrains. In addition to speaking engagements all over the country, Jessica partners with schools, child welfare agencies, and other organizations to help adults become healers for hurting children. She is also the mom of 3 busy boys. Meet Jessica…
You are an author, but is it your day job? I wear a lot of hats. Writing and speaking has been taking more and more of my time, so I made the difficult decision last fall to leave my counseling practice. In addition to a few books in progress, my days are currently filled with some big changes in my businesses. Website updates to make things more user-friendly, creating resources and training for educators, getting some business practices more streamlined, preparing for upcoming events…the to-do list is never ending. It helps to remember that it’s all in service of empowering the healers and cycle-breakers among us!
Did you always want to be an author? I remember wanting to be an actor and singer when I was younger, but realizing it’s hard to break into the business, I thought I’d write my way in. When I decided I wanted to go down the mental health/social work path, I didn’t think a lot about writing for a while. It’s funny that my first books were therapeutic picture books. While there are some better titles out now, for years I struggled to find books that resonated with the kids and families I worked with as a therapist.
What is your most recent book and what inspired you to write it? Riley the Brave’s Big Feelings Activity Book will be out August 8, 2023, and I am soooooo excited to share it with the world! As I have gotten further into my career as an author, I have realized just how much I like making the invisible world visible, especially related to mental health. This fourth book in the Riley the Brave series does that in a big way, with bright pictures, inviting games and activities, and lots of tips and scripts for parents, teachers, and other caring adults. As my therapy waiting list was getting longer and longer, I realized just how many helping professionals don’t have access to the deeply trauma-informed resources that will help them do their job well. I’m hoping this book can help bridge that gap.
How do you hope your book uplifts those who read it? One of my favorite pieces of feedback about my books is kids saying, “I think this book is about me.” That might sound like a silly thing to notice, but when emotions feel overwhelming or you have had some tough stuff happen in life, getting to know yourself can be hard. As humans, we function best when we feel safe, seen, and valued. I wrote Riley the Brave’s Big Feelings Activity Book to help parents, counselors, teachers and other helping professionals understand kids (and themselves) in a more compassionate and empowering way. I hope for “aha” moments, sweet connections, and some fun skill-building for every brave cub who picks up this book.
Being an author today is like running a business. How do you manage all your publicity, social media and keep your engagement up with readers? It’s a LOT! I didn’t realize how much writing I would have to do about each book after finishing the book. It’s also quite a vulnerable thing to put your creative work out into the world. Despite all my healthy feeling and dealing practices, my resting heart rate always goes up a bit during a book launch.
I’ve learned to build in time for all the planning and writing required for social media and newsletters. I also set limits for myself on how much time I spend on social media so I don’t get sucked into tying my self worth to “likes” and comments. It is a necessary part of being in the public eye, but my identity is not in my instagram account followers. I have a great director of operations who helps me keep my head on straight. Together, we have made two user-friendly websites to help readers easily find what they need –www.JessicaSinarski.com for parents and helping professionals and www.BraveBrains.com for K-12 educators.
What book uplifts you? I love this question! There are lots of books that have been meaningful to me over the years. I love Already Enough by Lisa Olivera and come back to her “ten-step guide to calling BS (bogus story) on your own stories” in times when my head is swirling. I have gifted half a dozen copies to friends and loved ones since reading it last year. I also love the work of Morgan Harper Nichols and keep one of her books in my office and one at home to peruse when I need a little inspiration or settling/grounding. I recently read (listened to) I’m Still Here: Black dignity in a world made for whitenessby Austin Channing Brown and hope everyone in the U.S. reads and absorbs the wisdom in its pages. If we do, I think we will all be uplifted.
Anything else you’d like to share with your readers? If you love my books—or anyone’s books—please stop reading this post and go write a quick review on Amazon! It makes a huge difference in helping those books get seen. The online algorithms are hard on most authors. Reader support in the form of positive reviews is priceless!
Connect with Jessica via her website.
Images Courtesy of Smith Publicity, Inc.