I’m a reader. I’ve always been a reader. It’s a joke in our family that I never saw anything on road trips growing up because I sat in the back and read the entire trip. This is true. I missed the whole Pacific Coast Highway on a trip in high school because my nose was in a book.
I attended Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana and decided to become a teacher. I went to become a weather girl but once I found out all the first year classes started at 8 am, I switched to education (no, I was 18 and a ding dong…I didn’t think through teacher hours). While I was there and receiving a GREAT education, I found out that I could add “endorsements” to my teaching certification making me more desirable to schools while they were hiring. I decided to pursue a reading endorsement which required an additional 18 credit hours. I soon found myself in classes where books and the importance of literacy and language were front and center stage!! These were my people!!! I clung to my professors, started my own professional library (thanks mom and dad) and studied best practice. I loved every second of these classes and am very grateful for teachers that made a difference in my academic life and supported my love of books, valued my thoughts on literacy and shaped my strong opinions that the book is ALWAYS better than the movie.
Toward the end of the classes required for my reading endorsement, one of the larger projects was to write a children’s picture book. This was much harder than I thought it would be. However, I persevered and wrote (what I thought) was the greatest children’s picture book to have ever been written. I finished the class, put the book in a drawer and forgot about it. Last year, it resurfaced and I read and thought it was TERRIBLE. Good bones but content???? Lacking. What I had on my side now (20 years later) was experience. Experience as a classroom teacher. Experience in children’s ministry. Experience as a Christian woman and a deeper walk in my faith and knowledge of who Jesus is. Mostly, experience as a mom, I thought about what was important to me for my own children to learn, not only as emerging readers but to help them grow in their faith. Nothing like this existed in the Christian market so I took my little book and revised, and revised, and revised. Then I left it alone for several weeks and then I revised some more. Now what started as a book for college class has turned into something for parents, churches, preschool, grandparents, caregivers, and anyone else wanting to share the love of reading while working on pattern development, sigh words and spiral language within the framework of sharing the good news!
The Squirrel Family Acorn is a 20-year work in progress that is now available! I hope you consider adding it to your library to share with the children in your life.
Keep reading friends! Always KEEP reading!