I am currently creating several resources which I hope teachers, librarians, Sunday School teachers, etc., might use to help children better understand what was going on during the time that Jesus was born in Palestine.
While I have finally become a published picture book author, I was a teacher, a children’s librarian, a Sunday School teacher, an artist, a blogger, and a designer long before that miracle happened. Along the way, I have learned a few “other” things that I am eager to share. Once a teacher, always a teacher. Once a storyteller, always a storyteller.
Today, I shared a YouTube video which announces that I am ready to start scheduling book signings
The Donkey’s Song will hit the bookshelves on September 20, 2022. After that, I’m especially eager to visit some schools.
I taught art for many years, and while I was teaching art in a public school, Target Stores of America named me National Teacher of the Year. Because I essentially have a master’s degree both in art and writing, I would love to come to schools and teach the kids how to make their very own picture books.
Teach Kids How to Create Their Very Own Picture Books
This visit could be as extensive as a school might want. I can teach kids how to create a picture book dummy, how many pages to put in a picture book, how to create picture book art, etc. Potential topics are endless. For instance, until someone tells a child, he will not know what the words “author,” “illustrator,” and “picture book” even mean.
I Am an Animated Storyteller. I Promise that I Won’t Bore the Kids
I taught art in Mississippi Schools, but after I left Mississippi, I moved to the New Jersey Shore, and the town of Linwood, NJ, asked me to serve as their children’s librarian. That is another one of the serendipitous things that have happened along my journey. Probably because I was not a real librarian at first, I jumped into that job without many “BE-QUIET” restraints. Along the way, I had been a cheerleader, a performer, and a camp director. I assumed my position as a children’s librarian and storyteller fully animated. When I do story hours and performances, I play music, and I dance with my kids. I laugh, and we make crafts. Whenever possible, we eat a snack. My storytimes are an all-out Very Merry Unbirthday Party!
Even though the content of The Donkey’s Song is of a religious nature, I feel that even in public schools, I could offer programs about picture books in general, and in Christian schools, I could also talk more about the content of my book The Donkey’s Song. which is a retelling of the greatest story ever told.
Author Visits to Christian Schools and Churches.
Especially between October and mid-December, I’d also like to visit as many churches as possible. After all, The Donkey’s Song is a Christmas Pageant in book form. I’d love to come read my book, hopefully with a big screen so that everyone can also embrace the magic of Sydney Hanson’s illustrations. Whenever I am in town doing a book signing, a school visit, or a workshop, I’d love to visit as many churches there as possible, too.
I have already set the dates for some Book Signings. I’m willing to travel almost anywhere for an organized signing of The Donkey’s Song.
But I’d like to schedule some workshops for adults, too.
Here are a few of the topics that I am already fully prepared to teach to high school, college, and adults:
During the years that I was not yet a published picture book author, I read thousands of picture books. For a while, I was a book reviewer for the New Jersey Library Association. I was also a children’s librarian, and I have learned which picture books work and which do not. There are tons of picture book classics that every picture book author needs to read. For instance, The Relatives Came is a perfect mix of illustration and text. Every author and illustrator should study it.
I have posted several times that because it was of a religious nature,I feared that The Donkey’s Song would never be published by a mainstream publisher. I underestimated the genre of Christian publishing–especially that in children’s Christian books. My book isn’t even out yet, but my pre-order sales have already pushed me into some nice ranking spots on Amazon.
Following stats on Amazon is like chasing a firefly, but for a few seconds at a time, my pre-order sales have been sweet. Thank you, friends. But allow me to add that no one should underestimate the genre of Christian books:
All of my picture book manuscripts stem from my own memories. The Donkey’s Song evolved from my memories of hearing The Chrismas Story year after year after year when I was a child.
Memoir writing is also a great way to loosen up before you begin creative writing. It is a way to free-write and to just do it, in spite of your fears. But it is more than that, it is a way for you to delve into the vast pool of picture book ideas that reside within your own past.
Especially for beginning writers, I’d love to help them to create text dummies and to learn more about using rhyme in picture books, and I’d love to share what I have learned about creating an author’s brand, about marketing, about increasing SEO or online search engine optimization, etc. I also studied information technology in graduate school at Rutgers. I’d especially like to teach authors who are not otherwise visual how to create marketing images–like the ones in this post and like those that I use every day on my blog and on other social media sites. This would need to be taught in a series of lessons. I suggest that people begin creating their images in Canva. I created all of the images in all of my current YouTube videos first, and afterward, I turned those images into a video. Ultimately, participants can learn to make YouTube videos, but they need to learn how to create the images for those videos first. I created all of the following post images about The Donkey’s Song in Canva.