Over the course of my career, my experiences as a children’s librarian, teacher, and professional storyteller have planted seeds for Storypearls.
One seed was planted when I initiated and coordinated the Family Literacy Program at the Somerville Public Library, Somerville, MA. I reached underserved children at housing projects, WIC, and welfare offices, health clinics, parks, and a local Burger King to share books and songs, and left behind gifts of books that were gratefully received.
Another seed was planted when I was about to begin a storytelling residency at a school in Boston with a large African-American population. I asked a first grade teacher if she had anything she wanted to tell me and she immediately said, “These children need stories about African-Americans.” That weekend, I developed a storytelling model using the life story of African-American explorer, Matthew Alexander Henson, and then the African-American singer and traveler, Marian Anderson, into my plan to tell stories from around the world. I carried a large, colorful map from classroom to classroom and placed symbols near the countries we “visited” through stories. I will never forget how the children identified with Matthew and Marian, whose skin color looked like theirs. How eagerly they reached for the thematically connected library books that I left behind!
In author programs using my historical fiction picture book, Hope Somewhere in America, I carry a large, colorful map as I tell stories about African-American history and augment my teaching with thematically connected library books. The first grade teacher ‘s words continue to guide me in my work with predominantly African-American students.
My historical novel, Wordwings, set in the Warsaw Ghetto, shows how the power of stories can uplift people. A loan of $5025 will help me get this book published by the Canadian publisher, Guernica Editions.
This loan is special because:
More about this loan
Storypearls offers author programs and residencies in preschools, elementary schools, and after schools, primarily for students from low socioeconomic backgrounds. I demystify my author process from inspiration to publication in order to inspire children to trust their own imaginations. I demonstrate how one of my multicultural books becomes a springboard to expose students to other books and to the larger world. At the culmination of my author program or residency, my goal is to give each class and/or child a gift of a personalized, autographed copy of the book that sparked my journey with them. I believe that the connections I make between books, the children’s lives, and the creative process help foster a love of reading. When I develop a rapport with the children, a gift of my highlighted book becomes a precious and meaningful gift.
In May of 2016, I received an Honorable Mention for the Freedom through Literacy Award from Judith’s Reading Room for my author programs with Storypearls.
What is the purpose of this loan?
My historical novel, Wordwings, set in the Warsaw Ghetto in 1941, is about the power of stories to transport, strengthen, and uplift people in crisis, especially children. My protagonist is a twelve-year-old precocious storyteller who is asked to contribute her diary with its stories to the Underground Archives—a written compilation of life experiences in the Ghetto that was hidden during the Second World War.
Wordwings has been accepted by Guernica Editions, a notable Canadian publisher with an extremely multicultural slant. Guernica’s books have received reviews in prestigious journals. Guernica(http://www.guernicaeditions.com) receives money from the Canadian government to support Canadian authors, but can also publish authors from abroad with other funds. Since I am not Canadian, I am asking for $5,025 that will go towards the publication, promotion, and distribution pertaining to my book. Publication of Wordwings will allow me to reach students in middle schools and high schools as well as adult audiences about a little known and intriguing aspect of the Holocaust, which is legislated to be taught in PA schools, and many other schools in the United States and abroad. Wordwings is my best work and I have tried for many years to find a publishing home for it; a Kiva loan will allow me to take advantage of this opportunity to be published by Guernica Editions and share my story with the world.
Years in operation: 3 years – 5 years