The first day of school can be both exciting and scary for young children. My Lil' First School, the third book in Toby Williams’s Brooke Lynn Adventure Series, addresses this issue and helps you get your child ready to step inside the classroom.
Join me on a Cat's Corner Book Spotlight ....
About the Book
Title: My Lil’ First School | Author: Toby Williams | Illustrator: Corrina Holyoake | Publication Date: October 2019 | Publisher: Toby A Williams | Pages: 21 | Recommended Ages: 4-8
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My Lil’ First School is the third book in Toby Williams's Brooke Lynn Adventure Series.
The story follows Brook Lynn walking through the big front doors of her new school for the first time. When she looks for her seat before the teacher comes in, she notices butterflies in her tummy. After a warm smile from the teacher, being brave, meeting new friends and being kind to others ease her uncomfortable feelings of this new environment.
Hurry, there’s the school bell!
My backpack was full of goodies,
maybe too much just for me?
I noticed a boy had no lunch,
so I shared my sandwich and tea.
Excerpt_My Lil' First School
Q & As
with author Toby Williams
Cat: Is Brooke Lynn based on anybody you know?
Toby: My great-niece, Ava, was the main influence of Brooke Lynn’s character development. I also see a lot of my younger self in Brooke Lynn’s antics and personality.
Cat: What inspired you to write this book?
Toby: My great-niece, Ava, had just turned 4 and was already talking about going to school (Pre-K) in the Fall. When my niece, Jessica, sent a picture of Ava dressed up in her new outfit, backpack donned and looking like she just might keel over, it was exactly how I envisioned Brooke Lynn heading to her first day of school. My Lil’ First School (Book 3) is dedicated to Ava.
Cat: What will Brooke Lynn be celebrating on December 15th?
Toby: This series will have its one-year milestone! Since my first Brooke Lynn books was published December 15, 2018, a total of three books in my series hav been published to date.
Cat: What’s your next project?
Toby: Ava is growing up quickly, and so is Brooke Lynn. Being responsible with chores, following through on promises and thinking of others (selfless) will be the focus in the upcoming fourth book in The Brooke Lynn Adventures: When an abandoned puppy is left at the doorstep, will Brooke Lynn be able to keep her? What will it entail to show that Brooke Lynn is ready to care for a new member of the family?
Cat: If you could be a Disney character, who would you be, and why?
Toby: Cinderella – she not only overcomes adversity but learns to find happiness in the smallest of tasks; her positive attitude throughout shines through as the Prince chooses her genuine, kind nature over pretentious, self-seeking young ladies. It is the epitome of a fairytale!
Cat: What’s your favorite dessert?
Toby: Rocky Road; crazy for chocolate, marshmallows & nuts.
Cat: Favorite book you read as a child?
Toby: Blueberries for Sal by Robert McClosky. “Ka-plunk” – the sound of the blueberries hitting the empty bucket; I, like Sal, ate more berries than I brought home. Growing up in New Hampshire, this book is a New England favorite classic. And to this day, blueberries are my favorite berry.
Cat: Favorite genre to read OR last book you finished?
Toby: I read quite a bit – mostly fiction. It’s a tie between historical romance such as Rhys Bowen’s The Tuscan Child, and suspenseful thrillers. I just finished Robert Duggins’ The Eighth Sister, which was an excellent contemporary Russian-conspiracy thriller.
Cat: What else might readers like to know about you?
Toby: As an avid golfer, I enjoy weekly competition with my two women’s golf groups. The combination of being outside while while walking the golf course with girlfriends adds to the fun-loving competition of the game. Every Friday, however, is dedicated to my husband as “our golf day” – something we have done together for years.
My Lil’ First School by Toby Williams is the perfect picture book to help youngsters prepare for their school experience. Using a series of 4-line rhymes opposite charming illustrations by Corrina Holyoake, the book addresses uncertainties youngsters face as they transition to the classroom.
With Brooke Lynn as a role model, children learn how she prepares the night before and wakes early on her big day to catch the bus. At school, her teacher’s warm smile eases the way, with art class and making new friends further dissipating her worries.
Comprehension questions at the end of the book help children process what they read. Highly recommend My Lil’ First School for early readers, a delightful tale that instills confidence and positive attitudes for those crucial first days of school.
Meet the Illustrator
CORRINA HOLYOAKE is a children’s illustrator and artist based in the seaside resort, Bognor Regis, in the South of England.
Meet the Author
TOBY A. WILLIAMS, born and raised in Nashua, New Hampshire, currently resides in the San Diego area of Southern California with her best friend, who also happens to be her husband of many years. They enjoy travel, golf, helping out in the community and of course, reading and writing.
Her inspiration to write children’s stories was borne from her mother’s childhood reflections of a kind neighbor in New Hampshire. This woman had a magical name, Tasha Tudor (1915-2008, American author & illustrator of children’s literature). Toby’s mother spoke about the uniqueness Tasha Tudor had as a storyteller in capturing children’s imaginations. Mother would say fondly to Toby, “Look at the cow-cow-moo-caddities. That’s what Tasha Tudor calls cows!”
Thanks for stopping by Cat's Corner and meeting Toby and Corrina. I adore both these talented women, who brilliantly work together despite being separated by thousands of miles and living an ocean apart.
Brooke Lynn was ready for her first day! What else helps a child succeed at school? Please share in the comment section.
Was 2019 a bumpy ride for you? Or full of smooth turns and gentle curves?
My #Gr8Blogs writerly pals and I are diving deep into a year-end blog hop, December Dreamin’. I’m looking back at my moments and lessons learned from challenges this past year on the writing road.
Check out my personal reveals, meet Critic Cat and Confident Cat, and then visit the #Gr8Blogs linked at the end of this post for more shared recollections and smiles. We hope you'll be inspired to dive into special December Dreams of your own.
The conflict between Critic Cat and Confident Cat was brutal the first half of 2019. Their arguments spun round in my head and wore me down.
I put it down to winter blues on top of moving from our beloved neighborhood of 20 years to our cozy yellow cottage. While grateful for the new home, I felt overwhelmed and inexplicably sad.
Didn’t post much on my blog or newsletter.
Stalled on my adult fiction novel.
Wanted to quit writing altogether more than once.
Sigh. The battle raged …
On the Come Up
I recognized I was burning out and struggled to shake off my funk. It wasn't easy, but here’s what got me going:
Exploring New Ways
Author/Illustrator Rosie Russell and I began collaborating on a new middle-grade book. (We’re up to chapter 22 in our tale about a shy 5th grader who must stand up to a mean girl to keep her friends and reach her dream of entering her horse in the county fair).
Co-writing is a special challenge when working with someone who lives 1,500 miles away. But Rosie is a joy to work with, just as her name implies, and being accountable to another author nudged me back to writing.
Plus, I finally had drafts to share with my local writers’ support group. It was way better to share our chapters instead of berating myself when another month went by without having written a jot for our feedback sessions.
By mid-year, Critic Cat still hounded me, but Confident Cat convinced me to enter the Readers’ Favorite International Book Awards Contest. Waffling until the the deadline, I submitted Sweet T and the Turtle Team.
Six months later ...
Turtle Team scored its third writing award and received a silver medal for children’s books, animal category
Turtle Team won the Wind Dancer Films competition!
That meant my book was being considered for a film or TV movie adaption by a major Hollywood production company. I am still over the moon and goose-bumping! My book adaptation may never come to pass, but I was 99% ahead of other authors, who only dream of getting their books on the silver screen.
As my 2019 roller coaster winds down, Confident Cat has been keeping Critic Cat in the corner.
But I want to be ready when Critic Cat strikes again. That’s the writing road, after all. Having doubts. Constantly striving to be better. Navigating bumps and curves mingled with smooth rides. Keeping going when everything feels hard and progress is slow.
Here’s to more of Confident Cat and readers like YOU, who keep me company on my writing road. Your support means more than you'll ever know. Beyond grateful!
Thanks for stopping by. What are you dreaming about this December as you look back over your year? Please share in the comment section.
But before you go, find more inspirational recollections from my blogging buddies at these #Gr8blogs, coming to you from California and all the way to New Zealand and in between -:D!
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