I’m Laura Duksta and I am a self-appointed Ambassador of Love. I believe in the power of love, connection, appreciation, imagination, enthusiasm, compassion, even patience and MORE! When I was about 7 or 8 years old, given something I was learning in Sunday school, I remember thinking, “One day I’m going to travel the world, meet my brothers and sisters and share the message of love.” I had no idea that vision would begin to reveal itself in the form of my first book, I Love You More. I self-published to start along with the help of my mother Carole Duksta who was a beloved kindergarten teacher for 38+ years, and illustrator Karen Keesler. We had no idea what we were doing, but knew we had an idea that was meant to be in the world. We managed to sell 180,000 copies before teaming up with Sourcebooks, the largest woman owned publisher in the US, that had just begun their, now widely respected, children’s imprint Jabberwocky. They helped land our book on the New York Times Bestsellers List a few times, as well as reaching nearly a million copies in the US, along with it being available in Korean, Hebrew, Italian, Chinese and Spanish. I love that my message is now reaching hearts, homes and classrooms around the world.
My second and third books are You Are a Gift to the World, which flips over to The World is a Gift to You, and I’ll Hug You More. They deal with the power of appreciation and connection. Counting our blessings, reading together and hug goodnight are some of the best gifts we can give our children. One of my favorite things to do is travel to schools around the country, and world, and share my program, “Empowering YOU to Shine!” It’s a blend of my experience as an author, the message of my books, as well as some life lessons I’ve learned along the way. Including the power of being yourself, one that took me years to embrace, as I struggled with Alopecia Areata that caused all my hair to fall out at age 11. I would never trade my hair for all I’ve learned from this experience, or the opportunity it gives me to connect with people on a daily basis-remember my desire to travel the world and meet my brothers and sisters! I also love nature, people, music, books, travel and sharing good meals.