Friday, March 25, 2016

When Dreams Come True.... My Road To Becoming A Children's Author With Cantata Learning

When I was a little girl, mom read my sister Heather and I books all of the time.  Drummer Hoff, A House For Everyone, Rosie's Walk, The Box With Red Wheels and of course Where The Wild Things Are were just a few of our favorites.  

We played library, school, and read to our little brother Ryan too.  
And personalized most of them with our name, library information, or just a tiny picture here and there. 

I also had a love for art of any kind....drawing, painting, sketching, coloring....I was always happy being creative.  

With our love for books, art, and being creative, Heather and I also made lots and lots of our own books with crayon and paint illustrations, marker drawn words, and stables to hold whatever kind of paper we could find together.  Our books were given as gifts, read over and over, and found a special place on the shelves of our library at home.  

As I got older, I had two dream jobs.  One was to design greeting cards for Hallmark and the other was to write and illustrate children's books.  

I went off to Iowa State University to the Design College and two years later my path took me to the University of Northern Iowa to pursue a degree in elementary education and art education.  
After college, I was blessed to be a stay-at-home mom with my three beautiful children. Those same books that I loved as a child came to our home now.  They were read over and over, handmade books were created, and sweet memories were made with new books that became our favorites.  

When Hagan was 1, I became the teacher librarian at Van Meter Community School.  One of the first things I did was pack up many of books from our home and bring them to a new home on the shelves in my library office.  I couldn't wait to share these with my students and teachers too. 

The books that my mom read to us were now part of this special collection I would share with hundreds of students over the years as the teacher librarian.  
Now as I work with children, teacher librarians, educators, publishers and others around the world, I get to share my love of reading and books with thousands of people every week.  

Our library shelves at home are filled with wonderful new books from authors, illustrators, and publishers that I meet through my work, at conferences, social media, blogs, global connections, and other places.  
Of course there are a lot with personal messages from very special friends who are the authors and illustrators of these books.....and once again, the books from my childhood are part of this wonderful collection we have. 
If you look close, you will see dozens of books that have an unique place on our library shelves. 
These are the books from Cantata of the most wonderful children's publishers whose books are unique because all of the stories and illustrations are paired with incredible songs.  

For the last year, I have been working with Cantata Learning and just love seeing all of the new books that have been published over three seasons and the books that will be coming up next.  I get to work with authors, illustrators, the art director, the music director, publishers, and others important to Cantata. 

I get to share these books and songs with friends all around the world.  It is very meaningful and important as I love to share my love of reading, books, art, and music.  It is so much fun.  

And this week that dream I had when I was a little girl came true.  
Cantata Learning has asked me to write eight books and songs all about school libraries!

Even though I have been an author of my own books since I was very young, I now get to work with a publishing team and my books will become part of collections in schools and homes everywhere.

Our work starts next week as we meet on Monday for the first time.  I am going to write about this journey as we go and share it here with all of you.
When my mom would read The Box With Red Wheels and others to me when I was little, I held onto every word and found the story in the illustrations on the pages.  I would think I could write stories like this and dream what they would be about.

And now my dream has come true.

I will tell you one thing I already know about the books.  There will not be any Shush in our books about libraries....just wait for what you see!

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