Between the Covers
They just might change their ways now. Inspired by 6-year-old Lola's school stories (and by her own memories of being "definitely not part of the popular crowd" as a child), Madonna, 45, has written her first children's book, The English Roses (Callaway, $19.95). The story of four girls who exclude a beautiful, shy classmate before overcoming their jealousy and befriending her, Roses is the first of five children's books by "Madonna Ritchie" (as she's identified in the jacket copy), all with themes gleaned in part from her seven-year study of the Jewish mystical system kabbalah. "I've learned to be unselfish and have a greater understanding of the power of words–for children and grown-ups," the star says. "I want to do good things for the world."
Proceeds from Roses (on sale worldwide in 30 languages Sept. 15) and its four successors, each illustrated by a different artist, will go to the Spirituality for Kids Foundation, a branch of the Los Angeles Kabbalah Centre, which educates children. "Each book has a very specific message and point," says publisher Nicholas Callaway. "These are traditional stories with timeless messages." Could be dull–but the books' coeditor would never stand for that. "Lola was my guinea pig," Madonna says. "When she said, 'Mom, that's boring,' I knew I had more work to do."