Author Spotlight

An Encore Career – A Children’s Author

I am a children’s author! Sometimes I have to pinch myself when I hear those words! I’ve enjoyed writing for as long as I can remember and can’t believe I have two children’s books published and a third written. Recently, I came upon some stories I wrote as a teenager. I think I’ve improved since then but that shows my journey has been a long one. For years, I focused on being a mother, wife, and daughter coupled with a demanding career. While my dream of becoming a children’s author was put on the back burner, the desire never wavered.

Telling StoriesSince retiring, my life is very different. Because I have been able to dedicate my time to writing and presenting my books to children’s groups, an encore career has taken shape. My professional wardrobe has definitely changed from business suits to jeans and sneakers. The stress of the long days and sometimes boring meetings are a distant memory. Although it took a little time to transition from the workforce to retiree, I think that I’ve found my niche. I love doing what I do. Recently, while reading aloud from my book to a group of children, I read that one of the characters had kissed the dog on his nose and a second grader got out of his seat and loudly announced, “I kissed my dog on the nose, too!” His spontaneity made my day! During a June visit to an elementary school, a third grader came up to me and told me that she could bark like a dog. After demonstrating a realistic bark, I recruited her to bark during the story. It added fun to my visit. I feel like I have been given a tonic after spending time with children.

barkleyillustration3When I enter a classroom, assembly or a meeting room, I feel the energy from the attendees and it energizes me. I love talking about books and the importance of reading. I want all children to see themselves as writers. I try to conduct an interactive presentation whereby children feel comfortable to share information. My two published books have lessons embedded within the text, and I discuss those points during my visit. For example, Barkley’s Great Escape is based on a true story. Several summers ago, Barkley, my daughter’s Lab, almost drowned in a neighbor’s swimming pool due to an open gate. As an educator, I was aware that drowning is the number one cause of accidental deaths in young children. I felt an obligation to write the story. While I wanted the book to be fun, my desire was to send a message about water-safety to the reader. Both of my books include teaching strategies.

I love the solitude of working on a book with the plot unfolding in my mind. I spend hours working alone at my computer. By the time I have a finished product, I have developed an attachment to the characters in my story. While I don’t draw the illustrations, I have a picture in my mind for every page.

I write a blog on my website on a regular basis which is dedicated to children’s issues. There are days that I don’t write, but there are no days that I don’t read. I can’t imagine life without having a good book in my hand.

(All photos courtesy guest blogger)

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WandaatLibraryOur guest blogger today is Wanda Wyont. After retiring from over twenty five years of teaching ages birth through adulthood, Wanda was excited to published her second children’s book.  Throughout her career,  she has worked to be a champion of the library and the services available to families and children.  Her website is http://www.wandawyont.com.

Please note that as a guest post, the views expressed here do not represent the official position of ALA or ALSC.

If you’d like to write a guest post for the ALSC Blog, please contact Mary Voors, ALSC Blog manager, at alscblog@gmail.com.

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