Christin Berger of Lake Benton noticed something about her daughter Jacqueline as soon as the girl entered middle school.
"I saw that my daughter started to downgrade her goals for herself as she hit middle school," Berger said. "Both her father and I had always encouraged her that she could be anything that she wanted to be but that wasn't enough. She isn't unusual in this at all, even girls who like science and math before middle school start to turn away from it then."
That led Berger to write her first children's book, with the title character named after her daughter.
Berger recently published her first children's book, "Jacqueline the Great, The Pirate Captain." She teamed up with her daughter, Stephanie Rietz of Norfolk, Neb., who illustrated the book.
And Berger already plans to release the second book in the series, "Jacqueline the Great Runs for President" in October.
Berger used Amazon's CreateSpace to publish the book.
"It's a wonderful opportunity, really," Berger said about working with Amazon's CreateSpace.
Berger said she's always liked to write and had come up with the idea for a children's book series about a year and a half ago.
"Raising a family I put it on the back burner over and over," Berger said.
Berger did a little research before she penned "Jacqueline the Great," learning that fourth grade is the peak of a girl's self-esteem.
"Seriously, according to Anita Gurian PhD and research done by the American Psychological Association, around age 10, girls start viewing their worth as tied up with their sex appeal and they start pretending that they are not smart because smart isn't sexy,"?she said. "The media has a significant impact on this perception of self and my idea was that if I could create a series of books with her as a lead character and explore the idea that girls can do anything they want to do then maybe it would help girls stay focused and encouraged as they go into middle school."
In "Jacqueline the Great," the title character loves to play outside and is vibrant, creative and imaginative, Berger said. Jacqueline's friend is a younger boy named Jacob. In the first book, Jacob proclaims to Jacqueline that "girls can't be pirate captains." She proves him wrong and the two play in the backyard, looking for treasure.
"You will not ever see Jacqueline playing video games, even when it is too cold or wet to play outside," Berger said. "She will imagine herself as a scientist, a structural engineer, or a painter instead."
Berger pitched the idea to her older daughter, Stephanie, and Stephanie immediately got on board.
"My daughter is an amazing illustrator," Berger said. "So we went for it."
The two collaborated online for the book project.
"We were on the same page from the beginning," Berger said.
At the end of "Jacqueline the Great, The Pirate Captain," Berger talks about how there were female pirates and pirate captains in history.
"They had to disguise themselves," she said.
Berger said her daughter, Jacqueline, recently autographed her first book, signing it "Jacqueline the Great," just like the title character.
Berger is set to release the second book in the series, "Jacqueline the Great Runs for President," in October.
The setting is Jacqueline's birthday party, and her platform is to have longer recesses, more field trips and having parks near kids' houses.
Berger hopes the Jacqueline series will be ongoing and is already planning ahead for a third book.