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Winner of TWO Independent Publisher Book Awards

Winner of TWO Independent Publisher Book Awards

We are humbled and honored to receive not one but two Independent Publisher Book Awards (IPPY Awards): An Outstanding Book – Most Original Concept, Gold Medal and a Silver Medal in the category of Cover Design.

So where did this award-winning “Most Original Concept” come from? After poring over Judy’s journals spanning her time as a spiritual director and expressive artist and teacher, we felt led to use her words and art to tell her story and share her wisdom with others. But then we felt a natural progression. As Judy’s voice grew weaker and her drawings more infrequent—and Roy began telling story parts Judy was unable to tell, there appeared to be a natural hand-off, a relay to, as the late, great Paul Harvey would say, “the rest of the story.”

“Whose story is this? What is your point?” a dear friend inquired of Melinda on a long, scenic stroll beside Little Traverse Bay in Northern Michigan that following summer. A few minutes passed before Melinda replied, surprising herself with her answer. “It’s Roy’s. He’s bringing Judy’s words and art forward and adding his own to help people know there is hope, even in our moments of complete devastation.”

So, we turned our attention to Roy’s journals. After reading each volume of his tender and vulnerable writings, we transcribed it all—adding 700,000 words to Judy’s 300,000 words of original journal entries—to create a starting point of 1,000,000 words, more than 150 scanned images, and 56 original poems (with a book contract for 85,000 words).

As Roy expressed his thoughts, feelings and questions—and sometimes anger and righteous indignation—readers would get a true sense of walking with him and his grief journey. From Roy’s heartfelt and unintended example, readers would be invited into a sacred and private space for learning and contemplation that arises differently for each person grappling with how to, as he advises, “gently and consistently persevere, lean into and work through” overwhelming grief to get to its other side.

As this concept came together, we realized that this dual narrative would touch on three areas everyone will experience at some point in their life, regardless of socioeconomic or cultural factors. We all have a life and a purpose. We all will one day die. We all will lose people we love. And, while everyone will grieve in their own way, we realized the potential for comfort, insight, and hands-on-tools this twin narrative could offer to anyone facing end of life issues—for themselves and for people they love.

Winning the IPPY Award for Most Original Concept validates this book’s very difficult and innovative approach to storytelling. In working together tirelessly to chip away everything that didn’t belong, Roy, Judy (posthumously, but we know she was helping), and June collaborated with Melinda Folse to craft from 1,000,000 words a unique and thought-provoking narrative, challenging readers to embrace all aspects of their lives. We are so grateful for this award’s recognition and affirmation that our idea worked—and It All Belongs is rapidly garnering praise from readers, endorsements from thought leaders in several areas, and a Kirkus Reviews “Get it!” designation.

A Stunning Front Door That Invites Readers In
The IPPY Award for Cover Design, Oversized Book, Nonfiction was awarded to It All Belongs and Yvonne Rohler of The Jenkins Group in Traverse City, Michigan. Yvonne’s imaginative design and expert guidance in selecting the art to be included—and then seamlessly tying together all three sections of the book—How to Live, How to Die, and How to Survive—was an artful masterpiece. “This book is as beautiful to look at as it is impactful to experience,” one reader remarked. We know that Yvonne’s thoughtful design of its visually stunning cover draws readers into the pages of It All Belongs—and then welcomes and invites them to explore its words, images, themes, and insights.  They have opportunities for interaction and engagement with each section courtesy of extra wide margins, reader’s notes pages, and wide open spaces for absorption and contemplation.

As It All Belongs continues to gain recognition, its message of resilience and hope reaches an ever-growing audience. We celebrate these dual IPPY Awards that affirm our book’s literary and artistic merit, and we move forward relentlessly to share its message of hope with those who are experiencing their own darkest days.  Offering a beacon of hope and courage for their unwanted journey is our mission.