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Dance Me Daddy is one of the sweetest picture books I’ve seen in a while. It’s based on the Point of Grace song “King of the World.” The story tells of a little girls relationship with her father. The relationship changes as the little girl grows, but the bond between father and daughter stays strong.
The watercolor illustrations are vivid and alive. The book is graded for ages 4-7, but my tween daughter adores it. She’s read it several times. I can’t think of a better way for a father and daughter to enjoy Father’s Day than with this book.
Cindy Morgan is the author of “Dance Me Daddy” and “King of the World.” She graciously answered some questions for Beach Reads.
What inspired you to write “King of the World” and Dance Me, Daddy?
CM: The song “King of the World” was inspired by a nightly ritual we got into in our family of gathering in the living room so my husband, Sigmund, and our daughter Olivia (who was 3 at the time) could dance together. We would turn on the music and as they danced, she would yell out, “Dance me Daddy!” I wrote the song as a birthday present for my husband the following year. I think there are a lot of daughters and dads out there that have done this very same thing.
Why is this song so meaningful to you?
CM: This song is meaningful because represents such a tender and innocent place of life for our family. It seems that when your kids are young, that everything in life is seen through their eyes so that even the most ordinary of things seem wondrous… like a dance on a hardwood floor in your bare feet.
What is your favorite memory from your father when you were a little girl?
CM: For me to pick one memory with my dad would be difficult because my dad and I were so close and he was such a wonderful, nurturing human being that I could tell you so many stories. But if I must pick one, I will pick something that I believe represents his spirit the most. I will tell you, the way I tell my daughters when they are snuggled in their bed at night asking me to tell them a story from when I was a little girl.
The Green Bike
My dad, Cova Morgan, who was a songwriter and musician at heart, was a mechanic by trade. He worked very hard, like most dads, to make ends meet. I was about to turn 6 and since my birthday was in early June, school had just let out and there was a whole summer ahead for me and like most kids, what I really wanted… was a bike.
The tough thing for my dad was that he was working very hard but with a house full of kids to feed, there wasn’t a lot of money left over and so, it didn’t look like my birthday wish would come true that year. So the morning of my birthday arrived and my dad awoke me early that sunny summer morning with a sweet and gentle smile on his face and said, “Happy Birthday… I have something to show you.” I rubbed my eyes and jumped out of bed. He asked me to close my eyes before I turned the corner and guided me to the appropriate spot. When I opened my eyes, there before me, underneath an enormous red bow, was a sparkling, glittery green bike. It was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen.
“How… how did he do it?” I wondered.
What I found out some time later was that my dad made several trips to old used parts stores and the scrap metal yard, looking for pieces to the puzzle he was making. He spent time every night after his mechanic’s work was done and built a bike for me. He bought a can of bright green spray paint (he knew that was and is my favorite color) and made sure that it was ready when my birthday came around.
To me, I feel my dad’s love in his time, his awareness of what I really wanted and even what color I hoped it would be. I miss my dad so much but I am so thankful that his spirit is alive and well in my heart.
How has your father shaped the woman you are today?
CM: I believe the way your father sees you is the way you see yourself. My dad made me feel like I was beautiful and special and capable of doing anything I set out to do. He listened to me and respected my opinions and my independence. I believe that the foundation that a dad gives to his daughter shapes so much of the decisions she will make in life.
What is the best lesson your father passed onto you?
CM: I think one of the most important pieces of advice my dad gave me was, “when in doubt, don’t.” I cannot tell you how many times I am on the fence about doing something and my dad’s voice will speak in my head. It’s about just pausing to make sure that the action you are taking is really the right one.
What do you hope readers will take away from Dance Me, Daddy?
CM: I hope the people who read Dance Me, Daddy will remember all over again how precious the relationship with your father is. My dad passed away a few years ago and I miss him so much. I just want readers to remember how precious family life is. How precious the relationship between a dad and a daughter is. I hope it connects with their hearts… that’s what I hope for most of all.
How did you feel the first time you heard Point of Grace sing “King of the World”?
CM: The first time I heard Point of Grace’s version of “King of the World” I was so excited and proud. I think they did an absolutely beautiful job! I could not have been happier with how it turned out!
How have you worked with Point of Grace over the years?
CM: I have known the girls in Point of Grace for many years. The first song that I wrote that they recorded was “How You Live.” They did such an incredible job communicating that song, just gorgeous, and I didn’t know at the time that they were going to go country as they have. It ended up being such a great fit. The next year they recorded another song that my good friend Phil Madeira and I wrote called “I Wish.” It has been wonderful to work with them and I hope to continue to write songs that they connect with.
What are your favorite lines from the song and the book?
CM: “Wide blue eyes and piggy tails swirl… she’s her daddy’s girl.”
How do you plan to celebrate Father’s Day this year?
CM: For Father’s Day this year we will just be arriving in Canada. I am guessing we will awake that morning and shower Sigmund with gifts and then the girls and I will take Sigmund and his mom and dad to lunch and then he will go golfing with some friends. He LOVES golf!
Thanks Cindy for aswering some questions.
Visit her website for a chance to win a big screen tv for your dad.