FREMONT -- The protagonist in Viji K. Chary's children's book realizes the benefits of perseverance, that never giving up is one of the keys to reaching one's goals.
It's a lesson that Chary herself learned as she spent several years trying to find a company to publish her work. The Fremont author's goal was further complicated by the decline of several publishing companies in this digital age.
But just like the main character in her book, "Porcupine's Seeds," Chary never wavered in pursuit of her dream and eventually found success. Her 28-page picture book was published earlier this year, seven years after she completed her final draft.
"I was surprised and thrilled" when it got published, said Chary, who is married and has two teenage children. Her good fortune then got even better. The book received a Mom's Choice Award, a national honor given each year to family-friendly media.
"It was very thrilling because the Mom's Choice Awards are given to books from which parents and children grow and learn," she said.
Teaching kids -- the book's intended audience is children ages 4 to 8 -- is one of the author's goals. Chary said she hopes children learn basic science lessons, as the story's hero does, while reading the book.
The picture book, which features illustrations by Bridget McKenna, is about a porcupine who longs to grow sunflowers in his garden. But the animal's efforts are stymied, and the flowers at first simply will not grow. The porcupine grows discouraged as he meets problems at every turn.
"He doesn't think he can do it, but he will give it a shot," she said. "At the end, he succeeds and realizes it was because of his diligence, and that he can do it again."
She came up with the idea about a decade ago, when her son -- then 4 -- tripped and fell while planting seeds in a pot. "The seeds and soil went flying everywhere, and all that work was for nothing," she said.
She found inspiration in the moment and began writing the story soon thereafter.
Chary, who emigrated from India to the East Bay with her parents in 1970, said she has a passion for youth literature. "I love children's magazines; I don't find the same joy within adult magazines," she said. "The children's stories are a marriage of pictures and words, and they take you to imaginative places that might not even be real."
Chary has other story ideas and is waiting to hear back from publishing houses about her new proposals. Until then, she can enjoy the success of her book and how one of its lessons -- the benefits of perseverance in the face of adversity -- helped make her dream a reality.
"I'm hoping that when children read the book, they subconsciously understand that they can get what they want," she said. "The lesson is they can reach whatever goals they want to reach, no matter how many obstacles."
Contact Chris De Benedetti at 510-353-7011. Follow him at Twitter.com/cdebenedetti.