When people open up a children’s book from lifelong Tyler resident Renee Goodwin, young readers and parents will see stories of Goodwin and her puppy GG.
But woven into these happy tales are both Goodwin’s passion for education and a special life lesson with each adventure.
Goodwin said she always wanted to write children’s books, but her path in life took down her different roads. She became a teacher, the first female drilling engineer at British Petroleum and even started her own oil and gas company.
Now, thanks to GG, she’s developed the inspiration to write the “GG Life Lesson Storybook Series.”
“GG is my puppy and so it happens as I watched her play in the backyard, these stories just came to mind and I told myself I have to write those down,” she said. “I could just see story after story happening as she went from one adventure to another.”
So far, she’s published “GG Cleans House: Learning Teamwork” and “GG Meets Her Match: Becoming Forever Friends.” She’s working on a third book called “GG Takes Action” about practicing health safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Each book teaches a life lesson, such as the importance of friendship when the main character meets Goodwin’s other puppy, Leo, in “GG Meets Her Match” and teamwork in “GG Cleans House.”
With her third book, Goodwin hopes children will understand the different guidelines to “keep ourselves and others healthy and safe.”
“GG, she follows the guidelines, but I can’t say she likes them all the time, but she understands the importance of it and she will wear her mask and she will wash her paws,” she said. “But the saddest thing for her is she can’t go play with Leo.”
In the back of each book, there are vocabulary words for the kids to learn and discuss with their family.
“Those vocabulary words are another way for families to start little life lesson conversations at the dinner table and for teachers to create additional activities with their students,” she said.
So far, Goodwin has received great feedback from readers. Even kids in Canada relate to the stories with GG.
For Goodwin, teaching life lessons to children is one of the most special parts of the series because of her love for education.
She’s a graduate of Bishop Thomas K. Gorman Catholic School, and she later taught at both Gorman and St. Gregory Cathedral School.
She received her degree in teaching at Texas A&M University. After some years in the classroom, she returned to Texas A&M to earn a degree in petroleum engineering.
She was in the oil and gas industry for many years, and became the first female drilling engineer at British Petroleum in 1984.
“When I got my teaching degree, it was specialized in math and chemistry so that’s what I enjoy,” Goodwin said. “And then I started working for an oil company, and I realized I should be an engineer.”
She developed the interest in engineering from her father, who worked in construction in 1960s and later decided to become a doctor.
“We just needed the education to get us there,” she said. “Education can open many doors, even send you offshore in the Gulf of Mexico.
After some time in the industry, she started her own oil and gas company, TP Exploration, that is still going after 30 years.
She later received a master’s in business administration from the University of Texas at Tyler.
“I do have three degrees and I have a passion for education. I feel education is something that belongs to you,” Goodwin said. “I try to encourage everyone that I meet, especially my children, how important education is and the different doors it can open for you.”
When she was a child, her parents worked extremely hard to get the best education possible for their children.
“They sacrificed so much to make sure we were in the appropriate schools where we could learn, and I have always held that close to my heart and I’ve always tried to share that with my family and friends,” she said.
She passed that passion along to her sons, who both earned college degrees and are continuing with their master’s degrees.
Each book about GG is dedicated to special people, such as friends and loved ones. She said the next book will be dedicated to health care workers, including her late father.
She hopes her books help kids love reading and learning, and that they enjoy the colors, action and characters.
“They’re great read-aloud stories. That’s what I enjoy about them because parents can begin reading the GG storybooks to their babies right after they’re born to start learning,” she said. “I try to keep the words where it’s a learning experience for them, but at the same time not too hard that they won’t be able to sound out and learn the words.”
People can find her books at her website, ggstorybooks.com, Barnes and Noble, Amazon and other book stores. For the website orders, she autographs the books.
She’s ecstatic and in disbelief to see that people are reading her books internationally.
“Isn’t that amazing? I got to pinch myself and say, ‘Is this really happening?’” she chuckled. “It’s really beyond words. I look forward to writing more and sharing more and I pray that it will be helpful to many.”
Goodwin wants her adventures in writing to inspire others to go after their dreams and hobbies.
“If you feel the inspiration, go for it. If you’re so blessed with those talents then try, and you just never know where they’ll take you. I do hope that it encourages education at all levels,” she said. “There’s always something to learn every day, every moment and then share that learning.”