Monday, March 19, 2007
OU alumna’s book picked up by Hallmark
|OU alumna Carol McCloud wrote the book "Have You Filled a Bucket Today?" and the book has now been picked up by Hallmark for distribution nationwide.|
By Rebecca Wyatt Thomas, OU Web Writer
Carol McCloud, SEHS ’75, is in the business of filling buckets. Not with water or dirt, but instead with happiness. McCloud, who authored the book “Have You Filled a Bucket Today?” educates area children about daily happiness and showing kindness, appreciation and consideration to those around them — serving as bucket-fillers, too. The book was picked up by the Hallmark chain to be distributed nationwide.
McCloud went to school for early childhood education, but ended up working in newspapers, community service and promotion. After getting married, she was able to return to education for a time, but eventually returned to researching for newspapers.
Two years ago, at the age of 55, McCloud decided she was ready for a change in her life. The day Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf coast, McCloud decided to go back and work with children.
“That very day, I saw an editorial in a local paper. A gentleman by the name of Merrill Lundgren was looking for someone to fill buckets and carry on his work,” McCloud said. “I met with him and we’ve been working together ever since. I just knew this is what I wanted to do.”
Lundgren presented adult seminars based around the bucket concept for 25 years before realizing the impact it could have on the younger generation.
McCloud began doing workshops for 4th through 8th graders and some adult seminars. These taught the children to show appreciation and kindness, thus filling the bucket of the person they were nice to. McCloud described it as a pay-it-forward concept. Using role playing and a “dipper detector,” McCloud gets the kids actively involved in the program. The idea caught on among teachers and some urged McCloud and Lundgren to do a program for younger students. McCloud decided to turn it into a book.
“I wrote it on one sheet of paper and that became the outline of the book,” McCloud said. “I showed it to a writer/journalist friend of mine and she said it was pretty much there. I found an illustrator to add pictures and by June 2006, the book was delivered. By December, it already sold the 10,000 copies of the first printing. I’m just blown away by the success of it.”
The book outlines the idea of a bucket and bucket-filling for the children and encourages them not be bucket-dippers, or someone who takes the good stuff out of the bucket of someone else.
“The little kids totally understand how to be a bucket-filler,” McCloud said. “They know what it means to sincerely fill someone’s bucket.”
A local teacher told a friend about the book. This friend owns a chain of Hallmark stores in the Grand Rapids area. She bought a box of the books sight-unseen and sold 660 in six months. Now Hallmark has picked up the book and will carry it nationwide.
“People who go into card stores are caring people,” McCloud said. “You don’t go into a Hallmark store thinking of yourself. You are in there to get cards and things for someone else. It’s people who think about others who will want to share this book.”
McCloud still plans to do assemblies and is now traveling to local schools to read her book to younger children. She said Lundgren, now 88 years old, continues to work as hard as ever promoting the bucket-filling as well. Along with Lundgren’s daughter, they hope to branch out and offer the workshop outside of the metro Detroit area. McCloud would also like to write more bucket-based books, including a faith-based book, the A-to-Z of bucket-filling and perhaps a book of letters they have received from fans about bucket-filling.
“I really had a strong feeling that I should be doing something different with my life—something more,” McCloud said. “And then this just appeared. I just knew that I wanted to do it.”
For more information or to sign up for the bucket-fillers e-newsletter, visit the bucket-fillers Web site.