Brenda has been a teacher for 20 years with teaching experience at the elementary and secondary levels. She is currently a high school Business teacher and Reading/English teacher in Northern Illinois. Her husband is a teacher also, and they have one daughter and one senior dog. Her passions include reading, children, and pets. As a family they like to swim, bike, and golf. Her website is Joyful Journey. Her twitter account is PetBooks15, and her blog is Joyful Journey Books .
Why I Became a Writer
I decided to become a children’s book writer to support causes that I deeply believe in – helping homeless animals and helping children. In the process, I have three goals with my stories - to promote humane education, teach character education, and improve literacy skills.
I am a member of our local animal shelters as well as national and global humane organizations. In the past I have volunteered with shelters and have participated in rescue efforts as well as fundraising efforts. There are so many homeless and abused animals, and I have witnessed the dedication of many volunteers who help to save these animals. In an effort to continue helping homeless animals, I have turned to writing children’s stories that promote humane education. I believe that creating a better world for animals begins with children. Pets and children often go hand in hand, and I believe we need to teach children proper treatment of animals. Children need to understand the responsibilities that come with owning a pet. A pet is one of God’s living and breathing creatures that depends on humans for its survival. In ‘Rescue Pup’ Meg promises to care for Buddy at the end of the story when her family adopts him. It introduces the basic needs that MUST be met for our pets to be happy and healthy. As an extension of ‘Rescue Pup’, I also offer “Buddy’s Story Time Felt Set” – an interactive felt story-board that allows children to talk about all the things needed to care for Buddy. Please visit my website to view the felt story pieces
‘Rescue Pup’ is great for building character. Virtues such as compassion, loyalty, kindness, friendship, love, and responsibility become a huge part of what I hope to instill in the readers of my books. ‘Rescue Pup’ brings about awareness of homeless animals and the dangers they face. Readers learn that abandoning a pet, a friend, or someone you care about can have serious and dangerous consequences - they will end up getting hurt in some way. Readers learn to empathize with Buddy, and they learn about kindness and helping others. Animals have feelings too, and it is important to show love and compassion toward all animals. ‘Rescue Pup’ teaches the importance of developing a life long friendship and that loyalty to friends is important because you can be there for them and they’ll be there for you! Teaching virtues at a young age helps children grow into kindhearted adults. They learn that life on earth is about GIVING BACK. They learn to be loving and self-less not cruel and selfish. Through ‘Rescue Pup’, readers build positive character.
Finally, as a reading teacher and a member of various reading associations, I believe that promoting literacy skills is important. There are many reading strategies that are packed into ‘Rescue Pup’. Not only should children learn humane and character education at a young age, they need to develop a love for reading and knowledge. First of all children will connect in so many ways with Buddy. They will share his feelings and understand many of his situations such as: loneliness, fear of the dark, feeling hungry or thirsty, feeling hurt or scared, feeling happy to have a friend, belonging, and much more. Through Nathan Behmlander’s beautiful illustrations, the reader will connect with Buddy’s emotions. The book has many opportunities to predict. Before you turn the page, there is always something to wonder as the story creates anticipation. Children easily learn to make a prediction for what will happen next. “Quickly…let’s turn the page to find out what happens next!” The story offers many opportunities to make inferences and problem solve – “What should Buddy do?” or “Why do you think Buddy was abandoned?” This is where critical thinking comes in. Children learn to think deeply, contemplate, and develop their own opinions and answers. Developing higher-level thinking strategies ensures success in school and beyond. ‘Rescue Pup’ helps children do this! The story encourages children to ask questions. They learn by self-questioning and researching. Many children have pets at home that they must help care for, or they wish to have a pet some day. Pets are always an interesting topic for children and perfect for further investigation. Perhaps field trips to the vet, an animal shelter, or even the zoo will encourage further literacy education while developing humane and character education. There are also many opportunities for children to write their own stories and draw pictures of pets on many levels. In addition to all the reading strategies that appear in ‘Rescue Pup’, teachers will find that all the story elements: Character, Setting, and Plot fall nicely into place. Create a plot diagram with ‘Rescue Pup’ and children will be able to plug in specific story information for exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution. The story of ‘Rescue Pup’ teaches children HOW to write a story. Please see my website for free downloads – printable activities (LA, Math, Social/Emotional).
So, when I decided to write a book, I knew I needed to have a topic that I truly believed in and a strong passion for. I wanted to make sure that it was packed with important lessons that would make a difference in the world and the lives of its readers. I have taken my passion for helping homeless animals and children and wrapped up (what I feel are) three very important lessons in one little book – humane education, character education, and literacy education. Through ‘Rescue Pup’, children learn at an early age how to treat animals, begin to build important characteristics that will help them grow into caring and virtuous adults, and start to develop critical thinking, reading and writing skills that will promote success throughout their education and life!
We walk this earth for such a short time, and it is our job to figure out our purpose and how we can leave a positive impact in some way that will help others. This is what life is all about! So, by writing a book and sharing it with everyone, it is a way to leave your ‘mark’ on the world that will last forever and promote a message that will make the world a better place. Choose your passion, your belief, and then START WRITING!
My ideas all come from my own experiences. I think that good stories all have unique properties because they are specific to the person who wrote it, and readers can relate because they may have had something similar happen to them. That is the beauty of writing and reading – the connections that readers and writers make.
Love what you just mentioned...the connection between readers and writers is a beautiful thing. What’s your Top Ten List of reasons why you can’t live without writing?
1. I hope my writing will make a difference in the world.
2. I write to support causes I believe in.
3. Writing is one of the best ways to express yourself, ideas, and feelings.
4. Everywhere you look, there is a story waiting to be written.
5. Writing educates others.
6. It feels good when you know you have written something that is good.
7. Writing unlocks doors you never would have expected to travel through.
8. Writing gives you a sense of power and accomplishment.
9. Communication through writing is one of my strengths.
10. Writing keeps my mind sharp.
Some very good reasons on your Top Ten List. What is your favorite childhood memory?
I remember going to my grandma’s farm in the summer and taming kittens that lived in the barn. I liked to feed them milk from a doll bottle. They fell asleep in my arms as their mufflers rumbled softly. We still go to the farm and there are kittens in the barn.
That's a wonderful memory. Can you share with us about your book, Rescue Pup?
How about an excerpt?
On the far edge of town in the thick of the woods curved a long winding road where a tiny house stood.
Inside of that house sat a pup who was sad. There was no one to play with, no friends to be had.
Where can we find your book online?
Purchase Link for Rescue Pup or www.amazon.com
Brenda, thank you so much for being a guest today and sharing your writing journey and why you became a writer. I enjoyed chatting with you.
If you'd like to be entered into Brenda's book giveaway, please feel free to comment on today's blog post. We'd love to hear from you.