Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Yawn on the Run

I wrote a book. 

I'm currently in the class Children's Literature and I love it. Every morning before class Dr. Pennington reads a chapter from a Newbery award winner while we all nestle down with our coffee and tea to listen. We then jump into the lesson for the day whether that be on picture books, fantasy books, or historical fiction. I've learned quite a bit about children's literature from that class and it has inspired me to make a dense reading list to tack over the summer. It has also inspired me to begin collecting books for my own classroom one day. 

But as much as I love learning about the various types of children's literature, there was one assignment that I couldn't wait to do. That assignment: write a children's book. 

When I was four I went on a crazy book writing spree. I remember the day it happened because, to me, it was the best thing since sliced bread. Mom was pregnant at the time with Ian and I was having nap time. I'd been having nap time since I was little and it was supposed to be for the purpose of, well, napping. But I got bored with sleeping after a while and did everything else I could think of while sitting in bed. I said the alphabet backwards as fast as I could, I tried to curl all my toes but one, and I made up stories in my mind. Finally, one day Mom let me read books to myself during nap time. I loved it! I would curl up in bed with my little Fisher Price® tape recorder and read the stories with as much enthusiasm as I could muster. I read them as if I was reading to an audience. 

For some reason my nap time got moved to the living room where I would sit quietly on a couch and read the books silently to myself. While I would read Mom would try to sleep on the couch next to mine. She relished the quiet nap time and unfortunately my page turning was too loud for her. One day Mom told me that the page turning was not helping her sleep so she set me up at the table with crayons and a stack of white paper. I couldn't have been happier. This change was the best. 

Instead of drawing pictures on the paper, I wrote out all the stories in my mind and drew pictures to accompany them. I loved it. I wrote a lot of little books during that time, but life went on and the books ended up in a bucket in a shed somewhere in Missouri. As for my writing, I wrote papers for school and sporadic blog posts, but that was it. 

Until I got the assignment to write a children's book. It came at just the right time too. All summer I'd been thinking of the story I would write if I had to write a children's book. It would be about a yawn that covered the world (because, after all, yawns are contagious). And it would rhyme. I am a huge Dr. Seuss fan because I love the sound and flow of his books. I love that after I read any of his books I start thinking in rhyme and rhythm. I wanted to incorporate that into my story. 

So a few weeks ago I set out to write my book. It took me an afternoon to get the story line penned out. After reading it to several friends (and getting an immense amount of encouragement about it!) I looked for someone to illustrate it for me. I tried, ohhh did I try, but my artistic abilities are a bit on the low side. Then came Jillian Chupp. I emailed her my story and she said she would love to illustrate it. I got her illustrations last week and put the book together. I could not have been happier! They were perfect! I wanted to show off her drawings to everyone. I love them!

This past week in my children's literature class I got to present my book to the class. Damarise and Micah sat in on my class to listen to me read my book. I felt so loved! Nobody else had friends and family come in to listen to them read. I felt so special and cared for. They are such a blessing!

 I have felt very blessed and encouraged by my friends through writing this book. It was definitely helped along by many people. Megan helped me with one of the lines and listened to me stumble along through the first few lines (I read it out loud over and over again to her while she tried to study in my room). Micah was enthusiastic about my book, told everyone about it, and helped me change some of the words.  Damarise encouraged me in saying she wanted it to be published. Kevin, Virginia, and Davey all listened to my book and gave me some of the sweetest compliments. Janessa told me it was great and told me to ask Jillian to illustrate it. Dad and Mom told me they liked it. Jillian made it come alive. And my classmates encouraged me after I read it. I feel so blessed by all the encouragement I've gotten from my friends and family. I told Damarise after I read my book in class that I just wanted to cry (a happy cry!) because I was so thankful for everyone's encouragement and support. It was just too sweet and kind! 

Yawn on the Run was a fun project and I'm so thankful I got to do it. Maybe one day I'll get around to publishing this book. But in the meantime, if you want to read it you'll have to find me and I can read it to you. 

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