PIQUA — Popular children’s book author Julia Cook visited Springcreek Primary this week for a presentation and interaction with kindergarten through third grade students.
Cook, currently of Fremont, Nebraska, is an award-winning children’s book author. Born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah, Cook earned a master’s degree in elementary school counseling and has worked as a counselor.
“I never planned on being an author, but it was about 15 years ago when I couldn’t figure out a way to teach my kids about tattling because they were tattling so much,” Cook said during her presentation on Monday. “I looked for a book about tattling, and I could not find one, so I wrote a story.”
This story, Cook said, was about “a kid who tattled so much he grew a tail,” and included four rules for children to follow to learn when they should go to the teacher and when they should solve their problems themselves.
After receiving positive results and feedback from students and teachers at her school, Cook said she sought out to get her story published.
“I grabbed a book off the shelf and turned it to the publishing page — that’s the page that nobody reads — and there was a number, so I called it,” she said. “A person answered and I said, ‘I’m a school counselor and I wrote a book on tattling and it’s working,’ and they said, ‘Oh, send it in, we’re looking for one.’”
Cook said she sent the book overnight to the publisher’s office and received a call two days later telling her the story, “A Bad Case of Tattle Tongue,” was to be published.
“Now, I have 100 published titles, and you all are going to hear the 100th today,” she said.
Students were introduced to Cook’s newest book, “I’m Stretched,” which aims to “show children just how overwhelming and powerful stress can be as it piles on the pressure and tries to steal our joy.”
Cook explained to students that this book idea came from a student who approached her, telling her he was “stretched” from being too stressed.
Cook read this, along with several other books, aloud to the students, each with a theme of self-improvement and consideration, including focuses on kindness, compromising, self-improvement and mindfulness.
According to Librarian Abby Peepels, grants were written to facilitate Cook’s visit on Monday.
“We wrote two grants to the Piqua Education Foundation and the Piqua Community Foundation to help sponsor the author visit itself,” Peepels said. “We also bought Cook’s entire collection of books and activity books. Since the beginning of this year, we’ve been reading all the books in preparation for her visit, so the kids were super excited.”
Peepels said she likes that Cook’s stories can serve as a fun way for kids to learn and practice life skills, and noted Cook’s ability to interact with kids in such a way that captures their attention and willingness to learn.
“All of her books deal with things that kids may need to work on, and can be books that you could read one on one with a child who is dealing with something really personal or with a group,” she said. “The books focus on things like social and behavioral skills, and if you notice, the kids were noisy coming into the presentation, but when they left, it was absolutely silent. I love that (Cook) can connect with kids one-on-one because she knows how to talk to children and all of her books speak in a ‘kid language.’”
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