About Katelyn Cummings:
After attending the University of Dallas for a degree in Education, Katelyn Cummings has pursued a number of different avenues in the fields of child growth and development and education from substitute teaching to developing curriculum for a youth fitness and enrichment program. Currently, Katelyn is living in Minnesota with her loving husband and son working as a youth fitness and cultural instructor. Calm Down, Monsters! Is her first published work.
What inspires you to write?
This story is so much more than just a children’s book to me. I wrote it in response to a number of experiences from when I was substitute teaching. The main influence was a classroom in which paraprofessionals sat in chairs spread out throughout the room and yelled at the kids all day. I found myself in this classroom near the end of their first grade year. These children could not count past 15, didn’t know their alphabet and were not allowed materials in their desks. In three instances, students weren’t even allowed desks but squares taped on the ground as their “homes.” I asked the paras why they treated the students like this and their answer was, “It’s all they respond to. It’s what they get at home. They’re monsters.”
Summed up, that means these kids woke up to be yelled at and belittled, went to school to be yelled at and belittled and returned home to the same. What a nightmare of a sleep-repeat cycle. How could you not only condone but prolong treatment of children like that? How are we expected to raise a strong generation of capable adults when their youth is spent being yelled at across the room? How is this preparing our kids?
Needless to say, I was saddened. I needed to make a change and break this cycle.
Tell us about your writing process.
This story came about from hours working with different children in my drop in yoga class. It came from different games, relaxation strategies and one long day as a guest to a summer camp. Many ideas that I thought would be perfect for kids fell flat and some that I thought were just okay have become a staple in the studio. That’s the thing that I love about working with kids, you never know until you try what is going to work!
After my time with the students, I would go home and reflect, writing limericks or doodling pictures from the day. After a short time, I began to piece together a story line during my toddler son’s nap time.
What advice would you give other writers?
My greatest advice to new writers is to talk about it! Share your interest and you wont believe how much guidance you will receive. I know that writing is a personal journey and I understand the desire to hide your work until you are completely satisfied. I’m not saying to share your work, what I am suggesting is share with others and ask about their process.
Complete strangers have helped me in stores pick out materials, offer help with advertising; I even found my publisher through the help of a stranger! People love to share their experiences. Learn from them!
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I decided to go through a traditional publisher because I knew that I wanted help reaching readers. I want my story to reach as many struggling teachers, mothers and child-care providers as possible to help them cope with the stress of working with children. (Because yes, it can be very stressful!) I knew that not having any experience in marketing, I wanted a professional team to help me with this.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I think the future of book publishing is wide open! There are so many talented writers out there with amazing stories to be told.
I know that if we want the field of book publication to remain as alive as it is today, we need to instill the love of reading in our youths. Do it through modeling, reading aloud or just talking about the cool book you are reading near a child. That way, we can guarantee these amazing stories waiting to be told will fall on listening ears.
What genres do you write?: children’s book, picture book
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print
All information in this post is presented “as is” supplied by the author. We don’t edit to allow you the reader to hear the author in their own voice.