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Behind the Book: Hugga Loula

Author Nancy Dearborn shares what inspired her to write the book Hugga Loula a picture book about the power of a hug. Read along to learn more about the book’s real life inspiration and it’s timely release.

Real-life inspiration

Having Hugga Loula published means the world to me. It is a dream come true, many years in the making, and is my first published picture book.

Like most of my writing, the idea for Hugga Loula came from a real-life experience. My partner, Steve, and I had driven six hours north of us in California to help his sister move. After several hours, Steve grew frustrated with some of the other movers.

He started to say, “You know what I need. I need—” 

But Steve never had the chance to finish his statement because his eight-year-old great-niece Alessia finished his statement for him by saying “a hug.” Then she latched on to him. By giving him a hug, she diffused his anger and frustration.

The Power of a Hug

The situation gave me the idea for Hugga Loula. I realized that this would be a great reminder to people—that whether you are grumpy or sad, frustrated or mad—a hug can help diffuse a situation. Hugga Loula is truly a book for all people everywhere, for who doesn’t grow frustrated or angry or hurt at times when faced with life’s small and large challenges?

A hug shows others care, comfort, and love, as well as gives them hope—that no matter what they are going through, they are not alone and things will get better. A hug helps people let go of stress in their lives and find calm.

The Science of Hugs

Research has shown that hugs contribute to a person’s overall physical well-being and may even reduce specific health problems like heart disease and high blood pressure, as well as help someone cope with stress, loneliness, anxiety, and depression. 

Hugging boosts oxytocin levels, elevates mood and happiness, and strengthens our immune systems.

Hug it out!

Who couldn’t use more hugs in this day and age? Giving a hug helps us focus on others. Hugga Loula empowers children and shows them they have the power to make a difference in another person’s life and, ultimately, make the world a better place. 

Giving the gift of a hug encompasses all ages and includes all family members (and friends too), even the family pet.

Not only do I believe in the power of a hug, but I believe in the power of giving to others as well. I am a firm believer in the idea that if we give other people everything they need, we will have everything we need. This idea refers not only to physical interactions like hugs, but also to encouraging words and material possessions.

And Hugga Loula takes her caring and kindness even one step further. She not only helps her parents and her brother emotionally and mentally feels better by giving them a hug, but she helps solve each of their dilemmas.

Hugga Loula is now available everywhere books are sold.

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