Entertainment

‘K is for Kindergarten’ goes through the alphabet

By From page A7 | August 09, 2017

Remember the first day of kindergarten? The butterflies in your stomach, the colorful room with promises of fun, the excitement of the unknown, the dismay at seeing your parents walk away? Exciting, intimidating and a bit scary. In her newest children’s’ book, “K is for Kindergarten,” El Dorado County author Erin Dealey aims to defuse some of the fear and expand the anticipation of good things to come.

While working its way through the alphabet, “K is for Kindergarten” offers Kinder Countdowns to give little pre-kinders and their families fun ways to anticipate and prepare for the big day, Kinder Challenges to enrich their school experience all year long and helpful hints written in the form of silly rhymes to let them know what to expect in kindergarten.

“F is for all the smiling faces of the new kids that you’ll meet. Some may ride the bus to school. Some might live right on your street.” — “K is for Kindergarten”

Kinder Challenges address such things as jitters before big events.

“Shake your hands out or try to jump your jitters away. Skipping helps chase those jitters away.” — “K is for Kindergarten”

Kinder Countdowns, such as making a paper chain with one loop for each day before kindergarten starts and detaching one loop a day, keep children looking forward in positive ways. With colorful, humorous illustrations by Joseph Cowman, “K is for Kindergarten” might just be the perfect book to read with your little pre-kinder in the days before school starts.

Dealy had a lot of different jobs before becoming a writer — Dole pineapple assembly worker, children’s theater performer, bookstore manager, maid at Yosemite and lifeguard. She started out in college majoring in math and French but became an English and theater teacher at the middle school and high school level after finding that English and theater arts teachers could be fun — at least as fun as math and foreign language teachers.

“All of my paths have converged to the best job ever — writing books for kids and having fun with words at author visits,” said Dealey.

Writing assembly skits for students in high school led to thinking about writing a book for young adults, which led in turn to writing her first picture book, “Goldilocks Has Chickenpox.”

“As it turns out, children’s books are a lot like theater. My background in theater allows me to create strong characters and I can hear the dialog in my head,” wrote Dealey on her website bio.

She has visited and spoken at schools from Brazil to Tok, Alaska, led writing and fluency workshops, including at the California Kindergarten Association’s annual Pre-K1 Conference and said the rewards of writing children’s books are many: “Seeing the joy on a child’s face at story time; meeting young readers at school visits or Skypes around the world and sharing my love of words; letting kids know reading is power.”

In addition to “K is for Kindergarten” and “Goldilocks has Chickenpox,” Dealey’s other books include “Little Bo Peep Can’t Get to Sleep “and “Deck the Walls.”

New books coming out in the next year are “Peter Easter Frog” — a frog who loves Easter so much he wants to deliver eggs too; “Babies Come From Airports,” — a kids’ eye view of international adoption; “Grandpa’s Favorite” and “ Grandma’s Favorite.”

“K is for Kindergarten” will be officially released on Aug. 15 but is available for pre-order and purchase online at Sleeping Bear Press, Amazon.com, Barnes&Noble.com and IndieBound. Locally, find the book at Face in a Book in El Dorado Hills, Holly’s Hill Vineyards and Bonkers on Main Street in Placerville.

Bonkers Toys at 266 Main St. in Placerville will host a “K is for Kindergarten” book party from 11 a.m. to noon on Tuesday, Aug. 15. Dealey will be appearing at Barnes & Noble at Birdcage Mall in Citrus Heights at noon on Aug. 19. Other book signing events can be found at erindealey.com.

Wendy Schultz

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