We are Jan and Deb, two retired teachers. One day while relaxing in Florida, we were reminiscing and laughing about our teaching days with some of our non-teacher friends.
After our friends left, the conversation turned a wee bit more thoughtful and academic as we recalled how much children, no matter what their age, loved hearing stories read aloud. Both of us had experienced young children clapping at the end of a book, and juniors and seniors begging for ‘just one more chapter’.
We talked about the benefit of strong oral traditions such as storytelling, simple rhymes, and songs that prepared the ear for an understanding of word patterns and provided the mind with a scaffolding for reading.
We talked about rhymes and the rhythm of words, of playing with language, and developing a life-long love of reading.
Later, after perhaps a glass of wine, we agreed that we should write a read-aloud book. That was our beginning.
Later, when choosing a topic, we remembered how our daughters both loved horses. Fired up, we wrote the book, Maizy’s Pet Quest: A Pony Please, very quickly, but hit roadblocks trying to find an illustrator, agent, or publisher… not as easy as one would think. During that frustrating time, we wrote our second book, Foster The Dog, and had immediate luck finding an illustrator. Still not finding a publisher, and amid the pandemic we decided to self-publish. We loved our books, others loved our books: we convinced ourselves to go for it.
This is not the end of our story. Having finally found our Maizy illustrator, we are currently assembling our first Maizy book, and it will be soon published.
We could not have done any of this without our two wonderful local illustrators. And, oh yes, we have now turned Maizy into a series of books: Maizy’s Pet Quest.
How EXCITING is that?
With her children grown and off on their own, Jan began teaching in her 40’s. This allowed her to bring a different perspective to teaching as she had such a wide variety of life experiences from which to draw.
Having taught in both junior and primary grades, Jan then worked in an Early Literacy Program which enabled her to appreciate how children learn in a multitude of ways.
Jan now lives in Grafton with her husband Steve and her Golden Retriever, Winston…when she isn’t off travelling!
Deb has enjoyed a long career as a teacher of all grades one through eight.
For many years she was also employed part-time at Nelson and Pearson publishing houses where she worked as an educational author, editor, and a contributor on many projects.
Her continued passion for books and teaching prompted her to continue writing for children.
When she is not off travelling, she lives in Cobourg with her husband Jim and her two rescued Labradoodles, Chase and Jack. Even more than writing, she enjoys spending time with her children and grandchildren.
The Original Inspiration for Our Foster Book!
Winston and Foster
This picture of Winston (on the left) with his stuffies was our catalyst to write the book.