Cleo Wade is Leading by Example

by Kasey Caminiti | March 30, 2021 11:00 am

Cleo Wade has cultivated a community of change makers through her shareable poems and messages of love. From her growing Instagram following[1] to the success of her first two books, Heart Talk and Where to Begin, Wade is unwavering in her efforts to not only spread positivity but to normalize feeling vulnerable. Her new children’s book, What the Road Said[2] (Feiwel & Friends), illustrates her own journey as a woman and a leader. “Part of why I start the book with being a leader to find out where the road will take you,” says Wade. “The rest of the book is a series of questions, because I don’t think that there can be healthy leadership without curiosity. So many things are important to leadership: vulnerability, being able to acknowledge when you’re scared, taking chances, going into unknown paths, not being afraid to ask for advice and knowing that love is helpful in problem-solving.”

"What the Road Said" by Cleo Wade

“What the Road Said” by Cleo Wade

The 31-year-old Wade grew up watching female protagonists in television sitcoms like Murphy Brown, I Love Lucy, Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie. “I always loved heroines,” she explains. “But at the same time, Samantha was a housewife, Jeannie was in a bottle at the will of a man and Lucy was also at home.” Inspired by this notion, What the Road Said’s journey started before Wade found out she was pregnant (with her now-1-year-old daughter Memphis) because these were the words she felt she needed as a child. “Mothering my daughter reminded me of the importance of being able to mother myself as well.”

"What the Road Said" by Cleo Wade

“What the Road Said” by Cleo Wade

Each colorful page of the book, illustrated by Lucie de Moyencourt, presents introspective questions like “What if I get scared?” and “What if I change?” that will inspire both children and adults to turn inward. “What I try to do with all of my work is create this moment of pause,” says Wade. “Even when I was writing Heart Talk, people were like, ‘Why are you writing a book? No one wants to read books, everything’s online.’ But we want a break from being on the internet. In the pause, we are able to ask the questions, and then we find the answers that help our healing.”

"What the Road Said" by Cleo Wade

“What the Road Said” by Cleo Wade

The honest, creative nature of each page in What the Road Said[3] offers a warm embrace for readers and encourages imagination, ambition and a sense of comfort. “I want people to draw their own rules,” says Wade. “I want people to know how to make their own way. To me, one of the things that I really focused on is role modeling the type of behavior that will allow for our kids to be more community-oriented, kinder and more open to learning.” Clearly, with the new generation of female leaders that exist today, there is a wide realm of possibilities and hopefulness. “I’m excited to put something that’s joyful out into the world, because we definitely need that at times like this.”

Endnotes:
  1. Instagram following: https://www.instagram.com/cleowade/
  2. What the Road Said: https://www.amazon.com/What-Road-Said-Cleo-Wade/dp/1250269490
  3. What the Road Said: https://us.macmillan.com/books/9781250269492

Source URL: https://dujour.com/culture/cleo-wade-book-interview-what-the-road-said/