By Deb Silverthorn
Libbi Federow O’Dean speaks from mom experience through the pages of “Even an Astronaut.” As they turn the pages, readers find her character Henry too busy to slow down, too busy to potty.
Slow down, ease up, exhale and go on — the author teaches toddlers through the vision of hero professionals to make potty training more than manageable.
Published in August and available now on Amazon, “Even an Astronaut” is O’Dean’s first book. Married since 2015 to Joe O’Dean, the author’s own experience with two children, now 8 and 2, inspired her to commit the story to paper.
“Kids get busy, they’re playing, they’re running, they’re doing stuff — thinking about going to the bathroom isn’t often on their radar,” said O’Dean. “You have to remind them over and over to stop a minute and ‘go.’ This book lets them know that everyone has to stop what they’re doing and ‘go.’”
In “Even an Astronaut,” O’Dean shares perspectives of an astronaut, pirate, cowboy, doctor, farmer and clown. The book is illustrated by Yana Gorbatiyk from Ukraine, with whom the author worked with entirely by email.
For example: “When I feel something strange deep down inside, when I need to try or can’t hold it longer, when this feeling is urgent and can’t get any stronger,” O’Dean’s audience reads. “When I start to wiggle and now means now, I’ve learned what I’ll do, and I know how.”
Erica Berns, a friend of O’Dean’s and a mom of two, said: “The kids love talking about the careers and they pay attention to the cute illustrations. There’s so much to look at and it reinforces the need to ‘hold’ on.” She has shared the book with her 4-year-old son Benjamin and 2-year-old twins Jake and Penny. “We talk about waiting to ‘go,’ to think about it and take a break and they can relate to all the characters.”
O’Dean is the daughter of Lisa, of blessed memory, and Rabbi Stuart Federow, and sister of Peri. Her father serves Congregation Shaar Hashalom in the Clear Lake area of Houston. A graduate of Dulles High School, in Sugar Land, she spent her high school summers in Dallas staying with her aunt Debra Levy and working at the Aaron Family JCC’s Camp Chai and Congregation Beth Torah.
A graduate of the University of Houston, with a degree in interdisciplinary studies and a focus on special education, O’Dean moved to Dallas in 2015. She began teaching at Responsive Education Solutions, an online charter school based in Lewisville, and at religious school at Congregation Beth Torah.
If parenting and teaching weren’t enough, O’Dean is pursuing a legal career as well. In 2020, O’Dean enrolled in the University of North Texas at Dallas’ College of Law with plans to pursue a career in commercial, tax or transactional law.
“I’ve always been incredibly interested in the law and how our society runs,” she said. “I finally got to a point where I had to stop thinking there should be a change and decided I could be part of the change.”