Inspiring Aspiring Authors

About two weeks ago, “Flatbed Fred” and I read to the students at my granddaughters’ school. On the second day, when I was leaving the grounds, Abigail’s teacher, Srta. Sandoval asked me if I would visit their class. I didn’t even take a moment to say “yes.”

So, a couple of days ago, I led a Character Development Workshop for twenty or so students in Abi’s second-grade class. I was a little nervous. I am comfortable teaching adults at the university, but I’d never taught in an elementary class. I had those 8- and 9-year-olds in the first moment when the Stanky & Cece Adventures slide lit up on the board.

I began by sharing how  Chad Hanstedt and I created the characters and briefly highlighted our work with the illustrators. (The students had heard the full story the week before.) Then, I had them develop a couple of our characters and finally create their own. The room was abuzz with creativity and excitement.

Later that day, Srta. Sandoval emailed me:

“Dear Kathy,

Thank you for your visit to our class today. You truly made the writing process come alive for our students! Thank you for taking our students “behind the scenes” with Stanky and Cece and for showing them how the writing process works for a children’s book author. The collaboration piece seemed to really click with them. After you left, students continued to collaborate on their stories and character development for a solid hour and a half.  I had to pull them away from their work! (What??)

“I am truly grateful to you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to spend time with and inspire our kiddos. You are always welcome in our classroom. I am looking forward to Stanky and Cece’s next adventure!


Alicia Sandoval, 2nd Grade Teacher”

When I was a young girl, I knew I wanted to be a writer. My joy came from reading books, and the highlight of my week was going to the library with my Aunt Veen. While my mother made sure I had money to buy books at the Scholastic Book Fair, I never had a role model to encourage my creativity and my writing. I am so grateful that I get to be that “person I never had” – a role model to young ones to encourage their dreams, spark their creativity, and say, “Yes, you can!


Download your very own coloring page from Stanky & Cece: Break the Rules

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