Please explain why Dr. Laurie Zelinger writes books


Since she was around 8-years-old, Dr. Laurie Zelinger kept a diary writing short stories and poems, and in the fourth grade she wrote a play her class performed.

Zelinger, 71, became a board certified psychologist who worked in schools for 40-plus years, including 10 in the Oceanside school district, and has had a private practice in Cedarhurst for more than 20 years, counseling children.

The writing gene has never left her and since 2009, Zelinger who shares her practice with her husband, Fred, has written books geared for children to ease their concerns about such topics as Alzheimer’s disease, terrorism and vaccines.

Her latest book, “Please Explain Divorce to me, Because My Parents are Breaking up,” with illustrations by Lynbrook resident Elisa Sabella, explains the breakup of a mother and father with three kids.

“Actually I love to write,” said Zelinger, who lives in Cedarhurst. “My son had his tonsils out when he was 6 and I kept notes. They got tattered. Someone said why don’t you turn them into a book.”

That book was “Please Explain Tonsillectomy and Adenoidectomy to Me.” The son, Jordan, one of four, is now a neuropsychologist.

The books’ topics are generated from a combination of a real life incident and her practice. Grandson Seth hurt his finger and Zelinger spontaneously made up a story related to the bandage and that became “Baby Bandage & His First Aid Family.”

“They are all researched and evidence-based so they are a trustworthy source for parents,” Zelinger said, about her books.

That is what drew Victor Volkman, the publisher of Michigan-based Loving Healing Press, to publish Zelinger’s books.
“Her credential as a board certified psychologist is impeccable,” he said. “I knew she was an expert and she has a deft touch knowing a child’s development and understanding what practical things make themselves understand the situation.”

Reading “Please Explain Divorce to me,” as an adult, it is a breezy 25-page read that provides simple but coherent insight into how children most likely will view the break up of their parents’ marriage.

Volkman noted that Zelinger writes from a personal perspective such as her book, “Please Explain Alzheimer’s to Me,” which came from her father having the disease.
“It speaks to the empathy with the subject she is dealing with and her desire to help provide practical solutions,” Volkman said. She researches her subjects in depth, has detailed, fully referenced theoretical approaches. She’s just a gem.”

Lynbrook resident Elisa Sabella has illustrated three of Zelinger’s books.

“I generally start designing the characters from a rough bunch of designs, then Laurie picks hair from one, the face of one, kind of Laurie’s rough ideas on the pages,” Sabella said, who added that sometimes she starts in pencil, but mostly works in Photoshop. “We try thumbnail sketches and narrow it down.”

For Sabella, “It’s fun, I love it.”

What Zelinger appears to love is helping her youthful patients and alleviate their anxiety.

“Children are really more afraid of divorce than death,” she said, recalling one time when working at a school there was a fire drill and of course everyone had to leave the building quickly.

“A girl had a lost a family member and she was afraid that all these people (who had died) fell out of the sky,” said Zelinger, noting that the feedback from kids before the books are published is genuinely positive.

All of Zelinger’s books are available on Amazon.