Rebecca Eisenberg is a speech language pathologist, instructor, children’s book author, blogger and mother. She’s been helping children with complex communication needs since 2001. One of her passions is using children’s literature to teach important lessons and to create a more accepting and empathetic community. We caught up with her to talk about her children’s book, “My Second Year of Kindergarten.”
Tell me about your book.
My Second Year of Kindergarten is a picture book about a young boy named Peter who finds success and triumph when repeating kindergarten. When my son went through the process of repeating kindergarten, I found no children’s books on the topic of repeating a grade and few resources. This is a sensitive topic and I wanted to create a resource for parents and educators to help children going through this transition. I also wanted children to feel empowered by the process and to have a flexible mindset. For many children who have varying delays (in speech, language, literacy, motor development), it can be frustrating to feel behind academically and socially. My book was intended to provide a positive outlook on how progress is ongoing and that given time and the right supports, a child can feel successful and confident in the classroom and with their peers.
What inspired you to write it?
I was inspired to write the book by my own personal experience. When I found no resources for parents or educators to help through this transition, I was inspired to write this book to help families and educators going through the process. This can be a confusing time for many people and I wanted to share a positive view and provide much needed guidance.
Who’s your illustrator and why was he/she perfect for capturing the spirit of your book?
I love this question because for my book, the illustrations were so important and really captured the message of the book! When working with Mascot Books, I spent a lot of time reviewing many different portfolios until I found Andrea Alemanno. Andrea captured something in his illustrations that I knew would translate the message in my book. I can’t quite explain it, I just knew it when I saw his illustrations.
Who is the ideal reader and how do you see the book being used?
When I first published My Second Year of Kindergarten, my vision of the ideal reader was a child who is repeating kindergarten. However, the more I discussed this book and shared it with educators and parents, the more diverse my ideal readers have become. This book isn’t just for children repeating kindergarten, it’s for any child! It’s important for children to be taught about learning differences and children with various delays and disabilities.
What’s the message you want your readers to take away after reading your book?
I want my readers to be able to reflect on their own challenges and learn to accept others and their differences. It’s also a book about learning different emotions and finding success with the right time and support. I want children to believe that being retained is not a negative decision, it’s an opportunity!
Is there anything else you’d like to share about your book?
I wanted to share my free reading guide that is available on my website. This reading guide has a variety of activities that align with the common core standards so it’s ideal for both the classroom and home.
Do you have a proud moment, inspirational story, or moving fan feedback you’d like to share?
The best part of publishing this book is hearing other people’s stories about retaining their children in various grades. It feels great to publish a story about a topic that has been viewed as negative and turn it into an empowering experience that we can talk about proudly as an opportunity for our children. It also feels wonderful to provide a needed resource for parents and educators.
If our readers leave with only one message after reading this interview, what would you like to be?
With time, patience and the right support anything is possible!
Find more information about Becca and her books:
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