Marcia Goldman is the first-time author of Lola Goes To Work: A Nine-To-Five Therapy Dog (Creston Books, 2013). From the promotional copy:
Meet Lola, a little terrier with a big job. Children will identify with the feisty Lola as she struggles going to school, passing tests, and finally achieving her Big Dog dream.
If Lola can make it in a world of Great Danes and Labradors, so can anybody who's feeling like a runt.
How do you psyche yourself up to write, to keep writing, and to do the revision necessary to bring your manuscript to a competitive level? What, for you, are the special challenges in achieving this goal? What techniques have worked best and why?
When I retired a few years ago from teaching, I was eager to slow down, and I figured I would know what I was supposed to do next when the time came.
I knew about therapy dogs, but I didn’t know if only certain breeds were used or how one became trained and qualified.
When I first thought about Lola becoming a therapy dog, I was told that she was probably too little and probably not suitable. I am glad that I didn’t listen, because she is very good at her job.
Lola and I had been visiting a preschool program for children with Autism. She and I would greet the children during circle time, and then I would read to them.
I realized how much more impactful it would be for the children if they heard a story about the dog that was right in front of them! I wanted them to be able to listen to a story about a dog while actually seeing and petting one. I looked online and in bookstores, but I couldn’t find anything that had a dog that looked like Lola.
I also knew that, for children on the spectrum, photographs would be more meaningful than illustrations. I decided to create my own book!
I had never written a story book, nor was I very good with a camera, but the children were my inspiration and Lola was a willing participant with a little help from doggie treats and string cheese.
It started out as a home project with only two copies, one to leave in the classroom and one for me. But with guidance and encouragement, the original plan turned into a wonderful writing adventure for both of us.
CYN NOTE: See Marissa Montes on Creston Books: A New Children's Press is Born.
As a teacher-author, how do your two identities inform one another? What about being a teacher has been a blessing to your writing?
Lola has a lovable face and an indomitable spirit that makes you want to cheer her on, so it seemed natural to let the story be told in her voice.
I also wanted her story to have teachable moments. Lola’s story is of a dog that was told that she was too little to have the job she wanted. It is about having a dream and having to work hard to achieve it. She could have given up, but instead she worked extra hard to prove that she had the right stuff to be a therapy dog, even if she was small.
Lola’s story not only shows how she made her big-dog dreams come true but also how helping others makes you feel good inside. It is a story about believing you can do something, working hard to achieve it, and making a difference.
The teacher in me hopes that it will be a book that parents and teachers want to read to their children and be waiting for the next Lola book and the next story she has to tell.
|Check out the curriculum guide, and like Lola on facebook.|