The day was off to a beautiful start as Linda Odom, and I began our morning zoom call. I was elated to interview her, and I could tell she was certainly bursting with joy to share her story. The sunlight was shining in such a way that it perfectly framed her figure and every bit of light only served to further illuminate her aura. Ironically, enough technical difficulties attempted to snuff out our light, but it seems God had other plans.
I started by asking Linda the age-old question, who are you? From there our conversation spurred light years of love and laughter into the air. I hope it finds you well here.
As a young, black girl growing up, Linda Odom was not always happy. Growing up in the south she was surrounded by a lot of negativities, characterized by the racial climate in America at the time. Aside from the dangers of growing up in a racially divided late 1950s Mississippi, Linda was heavily impacted by the absence of her parents. Leaving her to be raised by her great aunt.
Her goal now is to make sure no child ever feels the way she did growing up. “I want them to feel good every day and I want them to be positive,” says Linda. Now, a 67-year-old wife, mother and grandmother, Linda is living out her purpose. No matter the difficulties Linda Odom has persevered, and she is making it her mission to remind children to always “Think, Be and Stay Positive.” Her children’s book A Positive Note was born out of her care for people and her concern for the well-being and mindsets of all children.
A pivotal moment for Linda in creating A Positive Note came in 2009. After moving North to Chicago with her family, Linda started becoming active in her community. According to Linda 2009 was a rough year for Chicago with an uptake in violent crime. She said, “There was a lot of killing here. Kids killing kids, black on black crime, it just got crazy and so I asked God to give me something that I could do to help…. and I came up with an organization called Unlimited Success.”
Under Unlimited Success Linda mentored in Chicago schools for a while before work and limited funding created a hindrance. With reduced funding Linda was forced to pay her staff from her own salary, but that didn’t go too well. So, once again preserving Linda had to find a way to support Unlimited Success.
She did so by crafting a character that she could take to the children to tell them about positive things. The character ended up being called A Positive Note. Linda would then take him around to the schools to incite happiness in the children and spread her message of positivity. The cute and chubby cleft note would eventually become one of the main characters in her book A Positive Note.
Linda recalls, “A friend of mine said, “Linda Why don’t you go ahead and write a book to brand the character? I said, I am not a writer. God said yes you are.”
Taking the counsel of her amazing grandson, Linda began writing the book. She ultimately named and created her central character after her grandson, Jaden. “He was a great instrument in getting me started,” says Linda “and so I wrote the book. I wrote A Positive Note. I wrote it in English first, but I was not being obedient.”
God had placed it in Linda’s heart originally to write the book in more than one language. She ended up republishing the book in a multi-lingual format, available now in English, French and Spanish. During the road to publishing Linda’s editor asked her to change the name of her character A Positive Note, suggesting perhaps it was too long of a name for kids to say. Linda remembers saying “No, you’re taking away my objective. The objective of my character is to help children use the word positive every day. Therefore, he had to remain A Positive Note.”
Trying to regain her composure after welling up with tears at this point during our zoom call, Linda has absolutely stolen my heart. Her perfectly placed brown bob hugs the teardrops as they move down her face. Adding, “…it’s my heart, it’s my dream, it’s something I’ve been wanting to do for so long something, that would just touch children all over the world cause that’s where my heart is.
Filled with much more jubilation Linda goes on to tell me more about her character, A positive note. Exclaiming that he comes from none other than the Land of Positivity. Everything in the Land of positivity is happy, there’s absolutely no negativity. By his side are his friends Perky and Joy, they spend their day dancing, laughing and singing. They also travel to the World of Kids to remind them to “always think, be, and stay positive.” Holly, the Harp is their portal that they use to go from the land of positivity to the world of kids.
“Holly the Harp was a character I needed cause when I wrote my book my characters didn’t have a way to go back and forth to the Land of Kids. In the book it’s just a hole but I wanted it to be more special when it came to the cartoon. So, I asked my niece (Sparkle) if she thought her daughter (Lyric) could draw something for me” says Linda. Within an hour Holly the Harp was born. As Linda explains it, she had asked multiple adults that she knew were very good artists to curate something for her and it just didn’t land. Lyric is autistic, but Linda says, “..she’ll tell you I’m not autistic, I’m artistic. “
Even more exciting, A Positive Note is available as a stuffed animal and coming soon a cartoon. Each episode of A Positive Note Cartoon will open and close with live children expressing their opinions and thoughts regarding the subject of the day. Children from around the world will have an opportunity to become a part of the cartoon and to learn from A Positive Note in each episode. There’s also an extremely catchy song and dance to accompany the book to help kids feel the goodness of positivity.
If you’re not positively beaming at this point, you should be. As Linda says, “There’s no room for those pesky little critters of negativity here.”
A Positive Note is available for purchase now. For more of the magic please visit https://www.apositivenotebooks.com.
It’s positively magical. 💜