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All About Me
I'm in my forties now, but I've been writing creatively ever since I was a little girl. When I was in grade school, I mostly wrote rhyming poems, but I also wrote a short novel that was modeled after my favorite books at the time, the Little House on the Prairie series. I still have it -- I even drew a picture for the cover. I felt proud to be a writer, and I was lucky to have parents, teachers, and librarians who always encouraged me to write.
As I got older, I wrote less and less. I allowed myself to think I was too busy to write, or that I had other things to do that were much more important. But I missed writing! After I became a parent over ten years ago, I fell in love with children's books all over again. I started to think, "I'd like to try that."
So I began writing again. Since that time, I've written many things. I've written dozens of picture book stories, hundreds of poems, and even two novel manuscripts. Three picture book stories that I've written have found "homes" and become books. I'd like to think that eventually I'll find publishers for some of my other writing, too. But even if I don't, I'll keep on writing. It's fun! And it's part of who I am. I forgot that for a while, but now I know it, and I don't plan to forget it again.
In addition to being a writer, I'm also a reference librarian by training. I'm currently working as the grants manager and bookkeeper for a small nonprofit organization. I'm married, and my husband and I have two children. The four of us share our home with a small black cat.
And every day, at least for a little while, I write.
Perhaps you're a writer, too. Or maybe you do something else that's special to you. Maybe you love to draw. Maybe you love to play soccer. Maybe you love to take care of animals. We all have things that are unique about us, and only you know what yours is. But whatever it is, the thing that you love to do is a crucial part of who you are. Be proud to be you, and then be you! You're the only one of you that there is, and you're pretty spectacular.
All About My First Book
Many years ago, I wrote a story about a mopey fish. I worked on my story for a long time, until the words and rhymes sounded just right to me. Then I took it to my writing group. They helped me to make it a better story. Then I sent it to publishers, to ask if they would make it into a book. I received lots and lots of rejection letters. It's hard to hear "NO" over and over again. "NO, we don't want to publish your story." "NO, not quite for us." "NO, it doesn't suit our present needs." NO, NO, NO. I almost gave up! But I decided to keep trying, and I'm glad I did. Because now that story is a book: The Pout-Pout Fish, written by me and illustrated by Dan Hanna.
My book is now in print and available. Your local library will probably have a copy. If not, they may be able to borrow a copy from another library on your behalf. You should also be able to find the book in bookstores.
Thereís also a sequel to The Pout-Pout Fish.† Itís called The Pout-Pout Fish In The Big-Big Dark.
Fish not your
thing?† I also have a non-fishy book
called The Barefooted, Bad-Tempered Baby
Brigade.† Itís a fun and silly book
about a bunch of babies who go on a protest crawl.
Fun Word Games
I love word games! Here are a few that I've made for The Pout-Pout Fish. In most cases, I haven't posted the answers, because I'm pretty sure you can figure them out. Enjoy!
Downloads of these puzzles are available:
Educators and parents, these puzzles are available as Word documents. Click to download the word find; the word ladder; the crossword puzzle; a very hard word find; and word codes. Each document should be a single page in length. Also available are a coloring page and a fingerplay rhyme. The coloring page document consists of two pages. You may print only the first page, for a single-sided coloring page; or you may print the document as a doublesided sheet, to make a foldable booklet (a mini book).
You may print and reproduce any of these materials for classroom, library, bookstore, home or other use. If you are unable to open the documents, or if you need them in another format, please contact me.
Cool Origami "Fortune Teller" (also known as a "Cootie Catcher")
Dan Hanna, the illustrator for The Pout-Pout Fish, has made a really neat "cootie catcher" featuring Mr. Fish. If you would like to download a copy, please ask your parents' permission.
I have two jpg versions of the cootie-catcher file available for download. Which one you use will depend on what your browser uses to open and read the file. (If the jpg versions don't work for you, there are also Word document versions.)
Another option is to
download the cootie catcher within a Word document. There are two
options, both of which are LARGE files (so don't download either one if you
have dial-up). There's a very high-res version that's 10
MB, and a somewhat smaller one at 2.25
If you can print the cootie catcher on a color printer, it will look best. But you can also print it in black and white -- it just won't be as colorful.
For detailed fortune-teller folding instructions, click here.
IMPORTANT: Please remember that the cootie-catcher is just for fun, and it doesn't really tell fortunes or predict the future. :)
Also available for download are two Pout-Pout masks, one with a pouty face and one with a smile. If you're interested in your own set of express-yourself masks, ask your parents' permission, and then click here to download a PDF file for 11x17 paper. (I don't currently have instructions for formatting this for smaller paper Ė havenít been able to figure that out yet.) After printing the document, cut out the masks and the eyeholes, and attach string where indicated. Have fun!
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