I was born in Holyoke, Massachusetts on April 25, 1976. At a young age I developed a love of reading, writing, drawing and creating that stayed with me throughout high school and college. My work as a preschool paraprofessional and children's librarian nurtured this love into a desire to publish my own books for children. My first picture book Too Much Glue was released by Flashlight Press September 1, 2013. I have been lucky to visit thousands of students in hundreds of classrooms since that day. The greatest part of my journey into publication has been connecting with students and teachers and attempting to impart some of my love for being an author onto them.
Too Much Glue has received national recognition. It was the 2016 Montana Treasure State Award Winner in the primary division. In 2014 it received a Play On Words PAL Award which recognizes outstanding children’s products that engender play, advance language and appeal to all children for lasting value. It received a 2014 Creative Child Magazine Preferred Choice Award in the Kid’s Books category and was chosen for the 2013 ABC Best Books for Children Catalog. The book is also recommended nationally by Elmer's Glue and included in the Elmer's World of Glue Free Teaching Guide. It was on the Alabama Camellia Award list 2014-15, Grade 2-3 Division and was a finalist on the NY State Charlotte Award list, 2015-16.
I collect my ideas and inspiration for writing from things that happen in my everyday life which means they end up on everything! Napkins, sticky notes, old mail, ripped envelopes. I once found a rolled up gum wrapper in a pile of papers. Not wanting to leave a stone unturned I un-krinkled it and in colored pencil I had written “poop detective.” To this day I have no idea what that was in reference to, but it shows that not every idea is a winner.
When I was little I can remember my mother reading me one of my favorite children’s books Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. It was one of many stories that we read together and if I try hard enough I can still smell her hand lotion as I turn the pages. A great picture book story has the ability to leave the reader with the same feeling of satisfaction no matter how many times one may read it. Alexander’s story speaks to me even today. When I am having a terrible, horrible time I can always remind myself of Judith Viorst’s words. "Some days are just like, even in Australia."
As a former Children's Librarian and current Assistant Director of a public library I could write about this question forever but the basic idea is to weave reading into the fabric of your child's life from the beginning. Read to your child before they are born. Build trips to the library into your weekly routine. Read before bed. Read to your child while they play. Kids engage in different ways. Even if it seems like they aren't paying attention you'd be surprised how much kids can take in from their environment.
I just hope they find it fun. I hope it makes them laugh and I hope it makes them want to pick up another book and read that one too.
Not getting discouraged by the word "no" and trying to take even the bad news and the rejections as a positive which is sometimes easier said than done. There is something to be learned from every part of the publishing process.