Tampa, Florida -- Lori Diez, the mother of three turned award winning author, wrote her first book for her daughter and her two sons. It's called "Angel or Not? Angel for Sure." Her daughter Alexis is featured on the cover.
"It's a book about a little girl entering 4th grade and she's faced with bullying," Diez explains to a class of fourth and fifth graders at Incarnation Catholic School in Tampa.
Diez's book ties in the family's Catholic faith. "I wanted to give her a book that's fun and exciting and had good morals and values that she and my sons are able to read," says Diez. "I want them to read a book that says we do pray in school, have crucifixes, talk about saints and nuns, priests and Mother Theresa included in the story to reinforce our faith."
Diez's book started out as a family project. It's based on Diez's own experience as a victim of bullying. "Sonya is the main character. She's always threatening to punch Angel," explains Diez.
The book quickly turned into a best seller with kids at Incarnation Catholic School and other Catholic schools in the Bay area for its lesson on bullies.
"It teaches me you can't go up to them start fighting. That's not what our religion teaches us. It teaches us we should handle everything in a peaceful manner," says Carter Campbell, 4th grader at Incarnation Catholic School.
Fifth grader Ashley Seo says the book helps her understand bullies better. "Maybe she has issues in her family...and passes her anger to someone else at school," she says.
Both Carter and Ashley say the book is fun to read. "I like the way the author narrates," says Carter.
Ashley adds, "I was reading it one night and my mom said to go to sleep. I kept going and going and going until one in the morning until I finished it. I had fun reading it."
Diez says she's donating all of the profits from book sales to charity, with 75 percent going to the Children's Board Heart Gallery of Tampa Bay to help foster kids who are looking for a family of their own. The money will help cover extras such as sports uniforms, music lessons and tutoring. Diez has a personal connection to the charity; she too was adopted as a baby.
"Being adopted, I was fortunate to have someone to call mom and dad," says Diez.
She tells students the Children's Board Heart Gallery of Tampa Bay has helped increase adoptions by 40 percent. She says 30,000 foster kids age out, or turn 18, and are forced out of the foster care system each year without ever finding a family. "When they turn 18, there's nothing for them. They are out on their own, independent to make their own decision without a mom and dad. I think that's horrific," says Diez.
She adds, "You don't have to cross oceans to adopt, although that's good thing. They're right in your own community. Thousands of children."
Diez is turning her book into a series. She has two more books planned with the second one coming out in August. The book is priced at $9.95 and can be bought on angelforsure.com. Diez will be featured on Lifetime TV at 7 a.m. on The Balancing Act show.
Go to angelforsure.com to watch.