Book Discovery: Reaching for the Stars by Katherine Todd

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Single parenthood is no mean feat, with the solo mom or dad having to balance caring for the kids while being the sole breadwinner. In the United States, it’s becoming all the more common, along with its associated stressors. Yet single parents do what they can to beat the odds and prevail in creating strong, nurturing families. As Katherine Todd did, in a challenging yet rewarding experience that she now shares with her aptly titled autobiography: “Reaching for the Stars.”

Like the saying goes, and as Todd’s father told her, “always reach for the stars, and you will land on the moon.” Sage advice, as Todd separated from her husband back in 1965 — an era that was not as understanding of the plight facing single moms as the modern day. With four kids and few skills, in a testament to her bravery, she embarked on a journey that turned disadvantages into opportunities.

Then nearly thirty years old, she had to reshape her reality to ensure her survival and to create a viable future for her kids. She details the process to create stability in their lives, such as taking her first job, which helped her assemble her life and her families’ needs with the world of work — quite a feat of time management. She also moved to California, like a prospector, seeking new fortunes. Then in 1968, to stay close to her children, she continued her education while working, and eventually graduated with a bachelor’s of science degree from the University of San Francisco in 1983 — thirty years after she graduated high school. Yet despite the difficulties, or perhaps because of her efforts to meet them head-on, her children grew up to be productive, and responsible adults, themselves equipped to face life’s challenges.

In short, Todd was a trailblazer. Her story shows how she was ahead of her time in entering fields that weren’t as welcoming to women during those times. All while balancing this with parenthood. Like her contemporary pioneers, she helped set the precedent and opened the doors for later generations of women and minorities. And in these times, her example serves as both a lesson and as an inspiration for those facing similar challenges. It can be done, it won’t be easy, but the odds can be beaten, challenges can be surpassed, so long as one never gives up, never surrenders, while “Reaching for the Stars.”

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Katherine Todd earned a bachelor’s degree from University of San Francisco and film training from UCLA’s Motion Picture and TV Production Program. Her short film “The Celebration” won multiple awards. Todd was president of Burnt Meringue, an independent film company, and she has written five screenplays and several short stories.

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