I Love a Good Book
I Love a Good Book is a story of a young boy who loves books. He loves books with family members, non family members and alone for a humorous reason. I Love a Good Book is the first book written by Dr. Kimberlie Harris, a veteran elementary teacher and owner of PHraseD LLC, a freelance writing business.
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When did you write I Love a Good Book?
Explaining when I wrote I Love a Good Book is tricky and I keep replaying it to make sure I’m not remembering wrong. I’m sure that it all started in 2016 when I was at home on maternity leave. I breastfed my son and that often led to long periods of time sitting and doing nothing other than feeding him. At first, I tried watching tv and that worked for a few weeks. I completed Lost and many other series on Netflix, but then I got tired of watching television, so I started singing to my son and also making up silly stories. Some of them were ridiculous stories about family members and the different toys my son had, but a few were not shabby. While my son slept, I started writing some of the stories down. I planned to share them with him one day when he was older, but when I went back to work I didn’t think anything else about them.
An entire year went by, since I had written those stories, and then I was on summer break with my now 1 year old son. While writing a recommendation letter for a friend, I came across the stories. I had fun reading them to my son, so much so that I started writing some new stories about the things that he was doing then, since the first ones were all based on him being only a few weeks and months old. One of his most favorite things to do at the age of one was read. Now, I know you’re either rolling your eyes or wanting proof of my child prodigy, so let me explain a little more about the backstory of I Love a Good Book.
Now looking back, I Love a Good Book was really written about my son’s relationship with books between the ages of one to three. The original story was written about his beginning love for books as a one year old and then updated and fleshed out over the next few summers as he grew as a reader at the ages of two and three. I do even have video footage of him throughout those years that prove his book lover status. I have videos of him going to get books and bringing them to different members of our family, pushing books around the floor, opening up books and “reading” them to himself. Like I said before, I Love a Good Book was one of the new stories I wrote in the summer of 2017, but then over the next two summers I updated it with his new book loving pursuits.
I Love a Good Book wasn’t the only book that I wrote over those summers. There were three in all, each dedicated to some new experience or activity in his life. Funny enough, when summer was over, I didn't think anything else about I Love a Good Book or any of the other stories for that matter until the following summer and then the summer after that. Each summer from 2017 to 2019, I’d go back and read the stories, read them to my son and update them a bit, but that was all. Many teachers can support me in saying that once the school year starts, we tend to have tunnel vision and we rarely have time for anything else except for work and our family. I didn’t really think about I Love a Good Book or the other two stories again until spring 2019, one day as I was teaching a group of my fourth graders.
Why did you write I Love a Good Book?
Telling why I wrote I Love a Good Book is much easier to answer than when I wrote it, lol. I wrote I Love a Good Book to celebrate my son’s love for books. I have read to my son since I found out that I was six weeks pregnant. As an elementary language arts teacher, for the majority of my teaching career and an avid book lover, I knew that I wanted to give him the best chance at educational success, but more than that I wanted to make sure that he had a good relationship with books, so that it could be something we bonded over. My father and I are book lovers and bonded early over a love for comics and our love for dark dramas (I started reading Stephen King at an early age). I was hoping for the same bond with my son. I Love a Good Book is in some ways a peek into how books became not just a way for my son and I to bond but a way that our entire family bonded with him.
I didn’t understand this at first, but the more that I think about it, the more that I realize that I also wrote I Love a Good Book for my students. There is a lack of positive books about boys that are not sports related. There is a lack of diverse children’s and picture book stories. I Love a Good Book is one that I knew, on some internal level, that my own young students (kindergarten to about first or second grade) would like to read. Each day when I see them we start our day with book checkout, then reading and writing or engaging with books and the young boy in I Love a Good Book is someone that I knew my more reluctant boy readers would like. I Love a Good Book checks all of the important boxes because it is positive, fun, shows diversity and is relatable for young boys.
Who is I Love a Good Book for?
I Love a Good Book is for children. In beta reader testing, it was enjoyed by both boys and girls. It’s meant to inspire young children to read and love books, but I Love a Good Book is especially for young boys, especially Black and Brown boys. Yes, I originally wrote it about my son, but I have realized that it wasn’t just about him, but about all the boys I have ever taught. I can tell you name after name and stories after stories about the young boys I’ve taught that hated reading. Their hatred for reading is one of the reasons that my main missions as an educator became giving children the tools to make sense of their world and to be successful on their own terms. Data and research prove that one of the best ways to equip students for success is to ensure that they read and write well, so literacy and early literacy became one of my passions. It is the reason I pursued the additional degrees and conducted the action-research and dissertation that I did for my master’s and Ph.D. I Love a Good Book brings that entire journey full circle.
Officially, I Love a Good Book is for children from age 0 to 6, but in reviews from Beta readers, it was enjoyed by students as old as 8 years of age. I Love a Good Book is a perfect choice for daycares and schools to purchase on behalf of students from preschool to second grade (depending on their reading level). There are also lessons and activities that accompany I Love a Good Book to help children in that age range to start learning and practicing the fundamental skills they need in those grade levels and bulk discounts are offered to organizations, schools and programs. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.
Why did you decide to publish I Love a Good Book?
Explaining why I decided to publish I Love a Good Book is another tricky answer. I decided to publish I Love a Good Book for quite a few reasons. The first was not to be a hypocrite. Yes, you heard me right, I published I Love a Good Book to not be a hypocrite. Earlier, I mentioned a day when I was teaching strategies for writing narrative essays to my fourth graders. To break the ice and motivate students during our writing sessions, I always share stories from my own life (mostly from my childhood growing up in Jamaica). I would also model writing stories to them and with them. During one of those lessons, after sharing a story about my brothers pretending to be ghosts and explaining to my students that they should approach writing as if they were simply telling a story to friends, I got asked one of the toughest questions of my career. Actually two questions: “Why haven’t you published any of your stories? Why should we listen to you and think we can chase our dreams, if you don’t?”
I was floored. It felt like being punched. I have always told my students to be honest and ask the questions they wanted the answers to and that day they did. The child who asked the question was one of my most quiet girls who hardly ever spoke up. She was an extremely talented writer and I had been encouraging her to write more and share her writing. I couldn’t believe that she had spoken up in that way. I was proud, shocked and uncomfortable, all at the same time. It only got worse from there, they all started nodding and agreeing and then someone else said something to the effect, “We like your stories better than the ones we read from other people who are authors, so why don’t you share your stories with other people and not just us.” Their questions kept going for a minute before I finally maneuvered my way out of the situation by telling them we needed to close out the lesson and move on to something else, but their questions haunted me, so much so that I couldn’t stop thinking about it.
To be honest, at first I brushed their comments off. Of course, they liked my stories. I was their teacher. We had good relationships and they were well mannered kids who were just being polite. Then, I started thinking about the fact that I knew nothing about being an author and just where would I find the time to pursue publishing a children’s book with a full time job, my freelance writing business and blog, and my family. That settled it, I again put I Love a Good Book and the other two stories mentally away and went back to business as usual.
But I Love a Good Book and my students’ questions kept haunting me. The following week, I went home and started looking through all the stories that were on my computer. I read them all and separated the sentimental and silly stories from the ones I thought might actually be good enough to be published. That summer, I worked up the courage and I reached out to a high school friend, who is a publisher. I asked her to take a look at several things I had written, including I Love a Good Book, and give me some honest feedback. She did and she told me that she thought the story I Love a Good Book had potential. She said it was the story that was in the best shape from what I had shared and that it was close to being ready to be published. We talked about the children’s book market, what was missing and how I Love a Good Book could help to fill the gap. After speaking with her, I seriously reread I Love a Good Book and realized that though I had initially written the story for my son, there was a deeper story there too, a story that could inspire young boys to see the joy and possibilities with books and reading, especially African American boys.
After that conversation, I Love a Good Book quickly became something that I was passionate about. I saw that it could be a part of the strategy used to help boys see themselves positively reflected in books in ways that were more diverse than sports. After sitting and giving it some serious thought I also realized that I really had the ideas for a series of books for young boys. I guess you can say then that my decision to actually publish I Love a Good Book became clear when I realized it could help inspire a new generation of boys to love books and reading.
Why are you self publishing I Love a Good Book?
As I mentioned before, though I wrote I Love a Good Book, I am a teacher and also a freelance writer, so I knew nothing about the publishing world. I spoke again to my friend to ask her what the process was like to get a book published. She shared detailed information with me and explained that once I prepared the manuscript ( had the story developed and the manuscript edited), I could then try to find an interested publisher. She was even willing to do some inquiries on my behalf, but then she shared some information with me that made me doubt wanting to go with traditional publishing. She said that the publishing company would secure the illustrator and that for the most part they would have control over the creative direction of the manuscript and book. As much as I wanted to get I Love a Good Book out into the world, I wasn’t willing to relinquish control of my vision for the book and how I wanted boys portrayed.
As a result of my strong desire to maintain creative control of I Love a Good Book, I decided to look into self-publishing. Another teacher who I knew had recently published a children’s book, so I reached out to her to get some information. She was invaluable. She connected me with several Facebook children’s author groups and even gave me some leads on illustrators she had worked with or wanted to work with. At this point in the I Love a Good Book journey, I became dedicated to seeing the book through to publication because boys, my son, students and even I deserved it.
Do you have other books planned after I Love a Good Book?
Yes, I Love a Good Book is book one in a series that will celebrate boys positively. Currently, the first three books will focus on boys aged 0-8, but books later in the series will cover slightly older boys, but all within the elementary age range.
The second book in the series, Wondogfilled, is completed and is slated for release in October of 2022. Pre-orders will begin on June 30th (the anniversary of when pre-orders for I Love a Good Book started) and will end on July 31st. Special discounts (up to 30%) will be offered to say, "Thank you" for joining our mission to inspire a new generation of readers, especially boys.
What do you hope to accomplish with I Love a Good Book?
I hope that I Love a Good Book will inspire young boys to read. I hope it will encourage parents, grandparents, teachers , librarians and other adults to remember the power of books and to read to and with young children, especially boys, every chance that they get. I hope to increase the positive representation of boys, especially diverse boys in children’s books, especially those written for younger boys. I also hope to increase the presence of diverse children’s books authors.
Where can I get copies of I Love a Good Book?
I Love a Good Book was published January 2022 and is available for purchase. The I Love a Good Book e-book is available for purchase on Amazon and hardcover and paperback copies of I Love a Good Book, plus the accompanying I Love a Good Book Coloring/Activity Book, are available on my website. Visit iloveagoodbook.com to order your copies now. While you're there, you can pre-order Wondogfilled, book 2 in the series, and grab our limited edition I Love a Good Book Reading Buddy.
How can I share about I Love a Good Book?
You can share about I Love a Good Book by following my social media accounts and sharing my posts there about the book. I am on Instagram and Facebook as @phrasedllc and on Twitter as @phrasedl. In addition, I have created a media kit for the book that includes a shorter backstory, social media images, flyers, support letters, press release and an email template that you can use to tell others about I Love a Good Book.
What is the I Love a Good Book Bundle?
Shortly after publishing I Love a Good Book, I started receiving comments and questions from parents and teachers who wanted more resources to help children to love books and reading. After conducting some research and getting feedback, I created the I Love a Good Book Coloring And Activity book to help children practice essential skills. I also designed and created the I Love a Good Book Reading Buddy plush, so that children will have a buddy to practice reading with in a non threatening way. These new resources have been combined with I Love a Good Book in reading bundles and packages to meet the needs of parents and families who want to raise lifelong readers.
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