Adjusting The Sail

Children’s Author and Poet Robin Martin

Story by Michael Seguin
Photography by Sean Sennett

“I can’t control the wind, but I can adjust the sail.” 

That quote is attributed to legendary bluegrass musician Ricky Skaggs. And whether he was aware of it or not, when he wrote those lyrics Mr. Skaggs was thinking about Robin Martin.

Robin Martin is a local award-winning children’s author and poet. She borrowed Mr. Skaggs’ words to open her entry in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Think Possible entitled “Riding High Side.” 

“With every rigging of the hanks and raising of the jib my resolve became stronger,” Robin writes. “If I could hoist a main and pull a boat out of chains, then surely I could pull myself up and get myself out of this mess as well.”

The piece is a hauntingly frank exploration of Robin’s emotional recovery following her divorce. It displays her startling power of imagery and, as you will soon discover, her characteristic resilience.

Zoo on the Moon

“I started writing when my children were young,” Robin explains. “Before that, I had started journaling as a teenager and started writing creatively when my kids were still young. This would’ve been in 2005. I kept at it, thinking, ‘Hey, maybe if I keep trying something will happen with this.’”

Eventually, in 2013, Robin sent her first manuscript, Zoo on the Moon, to Strategic Books Publishing and Rights Co., a hybrid publisher. 

Zoo on the Moon is a whimsical children’s book that explores the possibilities that come with weightlessness. The bouncy delightful poem is told from the perspective of a Meerkat as he explores the unexpected and imaginative experiences of a wondrous lunar zoo.

“The book simply asks: what if?” Robin states. “With a lack of gravity, what are the possibilities?”

The book has quickly garnered international attention.

“In New York City, they have the Book Expo America convention,” Robin explains. “My publisher featured my book at their booth. Someone from the IB Library picked it up. At the time, they were acquiring books for their international baccalaureate program.”

Zoo on the Moon was selected for IB Library’s Primary Science curriculum, which has shipped the book to 147 countries.

Thanks to her book’s tremendous success, Robin was invited to participate in the next Windsor International Writers Conference. Now, years later, she currently serves as the organization’s Co-Chair.

Someone You Love Has Cancer: A Child’s Guide to Understanding 

Back in 2015, Robin received some troubling news.

“I was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer,” Robin states.

While recovering, Robin was inspired to write her next book: Someone You Love Has Cancer: A Child’s Guide to Understanding.

“I thought, ‘Well, I write books for children and there is none out there that help children understand what is going on when a loved one is struggling from cancer,’” Robin recalls. “So, I decided to write a guide as a children’s picture book.”

The book provides a platform for conversation between parents and children, as well as teachers and their students. This educational poem was written to empower children and ease their anxiety. It includes a glossary of terms, as well as fundraising ideas and instructions on how to create a Memory Box.

“I wrote it so that they would open up the conversation between parents and children,” Robin explains. “And also, potentially teachers and children. It’s written in rhyme, and it’s factual. It’s one of those things where, unless you need it, you don’t go searching for it. But, in my opinion, there should be one in every classroom. It’s my goal to have one of these books and every single tote bag that the cancer center sends out.”

Someone You Love Has Cancer: A Child’s Guide to Understanding has been an Amazon Bestseller for the past three years, making it as high as #11 in the category of Health and Wellbeing. The Seidman Cancer Center has even put it on their must-read list for children. 

“The book is really a jumping off point,” Robin explains. “You read the book and it opens up the conversation with your child. It talks about hair loss. It talks about mood swings. It talks about not eating. It also explains that it’s not contagious. And, again, it’s factual. I don’t go into what ifs. Facts are a better place for opening up conversations. You know your own child and you know when you’re willing to share with them.” 

Writing the children’s book also played a pivotal role in Robin’s recovery.

“When I first found out about my diagnosis, I was frightened,” Robin states. “If you look up what I had, triple negative breast cancer is one of the worst types of cancer you can have. There are no treatment options. You have surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. I had all three. After that, there is no medication you can take.”

However, despite the storm, Robin was unwilling to readjust her sail.

“I was a single mom,” Robin explains. “From the time my youngest was six months old. So, it was me. I had already decided I was going to live.”

As of May of this year, Robin had no present signs of cancer for five years.

“My chances up until May of cancer returning were one in three,” Robin explains. “If someone said, you have one in three chance of winning the lottery, I’m pretty darn sure you buy a ticket. It’s always lurking in the back of your mind. Every time you have a weird ache for pain, you assume the worst. Every little thing contains the potential for relapse.”

Because of her resilience, Robin was selected as that year’s spokesperson for the This Ones For the Girls Campaign.

1000 Ripple Effects

After two very successful individual projects, Robin was invited to contribute to a collaborative one.

“After seeing ‘Riding High Side’ in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Think Possible, Stacey Huish a popular inspirational speaker, and Bestselling author from Australia, reached out to me,” Robin states. “She asked if I would be willing to collaborate with 1000 other authors from around the world on a new book: 1000 Ripple Effects.”

The book contains 1000 pieces of advice, from adult writers to teenage readers. 

“It’s all about helping them get through the tough teen years,” Robin explains. “All proceeds from the book will help fund programs for children who have aged out of the system.”

The project had a special significance for Robin. Her son’s best friend, Deshon Taylor, who is a foster child. After aging out of the system at 18, Robin took him in.

“He’s now a young man, living on his own,” Robin states. “But still refers to me as Momma R.”

More information about 1000 Ripple Effects is available at

More information about Robin Martin  is available by accessing

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