Article By: Cher Collins

February Special Feature with Author Emily Franke

While February is usually designated for promoting cardiovascular health and celebrating
matters of the heart, there is never quite enough attention given to how to mend a broken heart.
One of the most heartbreaking events we encounter as humans is the loss of a loved one. Grief
is a personal journey and we all cope differently. Author Emily Franke offers up a beautiful
children’s book that speaks to all ages on the topic of grief, but also provides a poignant
reminder that we carry our loved ones with us long after they are gone.
Franke’s The Ladybug Who Lived on a Four Leaf Clover (c. 2022) has been met with some
recent success. What started as a very personal expression of love after the loss of her beloved grandmother has become a way for Franke to connect with her readers. After a one-on-one conversation, it is easy to see why audiences have turned to Franke for comfort and support.
Her positive energy is infectious. Her honesty is refreshing. And her sincerity to help others is inspiring.
The premise of the book is simple. Emily is a little girl who lives with her mother and father. In her backyard lives a kind ladybug who makes her home on a four-leaf clover. After Emily’s grandmother passes away, she is sad and misses her grandmother very much. She fondly
remembers looking for four-leaf clovers together and soon discovers the ladybug and
immediately feels comforted. One day, Emily hears the soft voice of her grandmother with a
wise and soothing message. She makes a wish on the four-leaf clover that whenever she sees
a ladybug, Emily will remember the happy times and know that her grandmother is always with
her. Life-like illustrations accompany the story to complete the enchanting book.The Ladybug
Who Lived on a Four Leaf Clover is a book about a young girl’s experience with grief, but it is also a hopeful and consoling story that speaks to everyone.
I recently had the pleasure of talking with Franke to explore the impact success has had on her. We also talked about her writing process and future plans for writing and beyond. About threeyears ago, Franke experienced the death of her cherished grandmother, Sheila. She had never grieved and was profoundly moved by the devastating loss.

On one particularly restless night almost a year after Sheila passed, Franke wrote The Ladybug on her smartphone’s Notes app in a matter of twenty minutes. She drew strength from the real memories of the four-leaf clovers and felt inspired. Franke followed her intuition and sent her story to several children’s book publishers.
The next morning, there were seven emails from publishers wanting to pursue her
story. From that sleepless night to the completed book took just four months-a whirlwind timeline driven by the presence of ladybugs and the love of her grandmother.

Bringing The Ladybug to life was a family affair. Franke’s twin sister created the illustrations throughout. Personal touches like the ladybug’s pink glasses are a nod to Sheila and the character Emily, of course resembles our author. The finished product has brought Franke healing and a new direction with a renewed sense of purpose.

Having only dabbled in creative writing, Franke was on track to go into Occupational Therapy.With this life changing event, however, she is now confident about becoming a Guidance Counselor. During her author appearances, she is learning that she can easily connect with children. Her natural charm and wise-beyond-her-years approach to life resonate with young audiences, but also encourages adults to openly share their stories of grief. The Ladybug has touched many lives with copies reaching 46 states and 9 countries. There are plans for a second book, entitled Kindness Stands Out in which Franke will once again tackle a universal experience. We are all excluded from a friend group or a social setting at one point in our lives.

Franke hopes to deliver another timeless children’s book talking about inclusion.
The beauty of The Ladybug is in its simplicity. Sometimes, heavy topics like grief and isolation can weigh substantially on our hearts. This simple form of expression facilitates healing, but also normalizes sadness and grieving. It encourages readers to find something-a ladybug, a rainbow, a special song-that reminds us of our lost loved ones.

Franke’s authenticity in life and in her writing is evident. Her emergence as a children’s book author has taken her by surprise, but it is a new journey that she is enjoying thus far. During our interview, Franke anticipated some of my questions and it felt more like two friends talking rather than an author interview. She encourages aspiring writers to never give up. And true to her original inspiration, her future books promise to embody the human experience in a way that we can all relate.There is no doubt that Sheila is proud of her granddaughter. The Ladybug Who Lived on a Four Leaf Clover is available on Franke’s website and
she can be found easily on Facebook and Instagram. Copies of her book ordered through her
website are signed and it is currently in stock on Amazon.

By Published On: February 1, 2024Categories: Book Review

About the Author: Cher Collins

Cher Collins is a librarian by day who once made a New Year's resolution to write more. She enjoys the outdoors, as long as it is not biting her and she aspires to make her bed everyday. Cher is also an amateur genealogist whose family stories are fodder for future historical fiction novels. She watches more Netflix than she should, is a self-proclaimed coffee nut, and truly appreciates the little things in life. She lives in Western Massachusetts with her husband, teenage daughter and rescue dog named Opie.

Share This Story!


Explore the Western Mass Women Magazine!


Recent Articles