It started on a craZZZy note...
It's 3 o'clock on a cold winter morning. I'm sound asleep... Suddenly, this scratchy, gravelly, annoying voice demands that I tell HIS STORY. It's the LETTER Z! I beg him to let me sleep. He won't! He keeps blathering. I listen intently, feeling his pain. Then, as abruptly as he appeared, he vanishes. Like a zombie on a mission, I climb out of my toasty bed and write Z's story.
A week later, I began a reading tour, sharing Z's lament with several elementary school classes. They listened. They empathized. They imagined. Many spontaneously proclaimed, "I want to illustrate Z's story!" Children illustrate MY book?...
Brilliant! We quickly prepared an illustration contest in conjunction with the awesome BookMates of Southern NJ organization. A dozen assemblies later the adorably illustrated laZy, craZy & amaZing: The Z-quillustration became available on Amazon.com.
Z rejoiced! The young illustrators filled with pride!
Enthralled by the entire process and being slightly more craZZZZy than laZZZZZy, I shifted my sights from writing video scripts and speeches for Fortune 500 companies to tapping out tales for kids WITH KIDS. Since the fateful morning that Z awakened me in 2012, with the help and inspiration of several hundred enthusiastic young story dreamer-uppers, editors, and illustrators, we have pushed a slew of stories into print (and ebook format). Curious to find out more about what learning to do while doing to learn produces?... Browse below and click around!
laZy, craZy & amaZing...
laZy, craZy and amaZing the ZequIllustration is amaZingly illustrated by elementary school kids from South Jersey. Their imaginative renderings reinforce the message be happy with who you are to kids of ALL AGES. Z is available internationally in all formats including Kindle and paperback on Amazon.
For more information, watch the teacher testimonial below.
After you read the book, play Z's vocabulary game WordZee
The Curious Rise of Deztinee Snearts
Fun-loving but fragile, fourth grader Deztinee Snearts dares to oppose Damian Witherspoon Prezby in a race for school president. She immediately shoots to the top of Prez's "To Destroy List." Fourth grade becomes miserable for Dezti and caustically chaotic for her classmates under the "rule of President Prezby." Enter a wise librarian, an all-you-can-eat buffet of books to feed her curiosity, and a mysterious muse that connects Dezti to the Universe. Thus begins her CURIOUS RISE.
This book was dreamed up with Parkway Elementary's imaginative 4th Grade Class of 2018. It aspires to showcase the values of civility, humility and TRUTH that were embodied in Mrs. Harriet Stearns, Parkway Elementary's first librarian. Harriet had a gift for reading to children and getting parent volunteers involved in the school library and reading community. Check out Zapety Zopity Zu - Parkway Style, a companion vocabulary game featuring the voices of many Parkway vocabularians.
To purchase the paperback or Kindle version of THE CURIOUS RISE OF DEZTINEE SNEARTS, please visit... Amazon
UNITED WE RISE! features 4 books in one, with the universal theme of WELCOMING a new student into the school community or family. In addition to dreaming up the plots and characters, more than 40 students gave up multiple lunch hours and recesses to participate in giving voice to an audio version. That version was available online from May 2014 thru May 26, 2015.
For more information about the fabulous 4 stories, visit Amazon
MISTER FANCY DANCER was dreamed up with more than 30 5th graders at Whittier Family School in Camden, NJ. Many of the students are featured in the illustrations. This chapter book is available as an interactive book for iPad, and as an interactive book and app on Google Play and the Amazon App Store. The interactive versions include narration by Hochman and more than a dozen Whittier students and a 30+ challenge quiz. Reading level 5th grade and UP! You can get a sense of the student engagement by checking out "The Making of Mister Fancy Dancer" video below...
For book details, See at Amazon
Ever have your stomach talk to you? Boss you around? How 'bout talk to and even threaten your friends? Yes, clearly Grace's stomach is out of control. How she gets control back is a story about true friendship. This story was dreamed up with three imaginative and adorable first graders - Chiemela, Leopold and Sidney. These standouts from Ms McAnulty's 2013-2014 class joined me in presenting part of the book in a reading before more than 200 adult BookMates, teachers, principals, even the mayor of Camden. Below is OUR NARRATED version of the book.
see more at Amazon
Mr. Hocklenutty's Magic Glasses bridges the generation gap (between kind of old and kind of young). It was dreamed up with first graders in Willingboro and illustrated with 4th graders in Pennsauken. (Reading level 1st and 2nd grade.) Check out the iBooks version that includes audio and an interactive quiz - produced with Pennsauken’s gifted and talented 4th graders available in the iTunes Store.
Or, see it at Amazon
This book winds together 4 heartfelt stories rich in human values that reinforce the importance of fairness, social justice, hope and faith. It was soulfully dreamed up with Politz Day School and Kellman Brown Academy second through fourth graders. What came from their hearts will touch the hearts of people of all ages.
Find it on Amazon.
Wet-ucating My Big Sisters: the unlikely journey of a kooky 4th grader
What happens when a ten year old who cares a little too much about the world’s waning safe water supply realizes that his teenage sister may be the world’s biggest water waster? For Matthew Edison Jowell the challenges are daunting. He tries blaming. Shaming. And, eventually educating. Nothing seems to work until...
This book was inspired and partially sponsored by the vitally important Cinnaminson Water Festival and Project WET. The story was brainstormed and developed with Mrs Barker's 4th grade water wonders and creative thinkers at Eleanor Rush Intermediate School. Check out the companion vocabulary and comprehension game featuring their precious and precocious voices. They are awesome.
Available in paperback or Kindle. For purchasing options, please visit...Amazon
If you have questions, comments, suggestions or book requests, I’m eager to hear from you. If you like the books and/or the concept of producing engaging books for kids WITH KIDS, create some buzz.
If you’d like to arrange a reading or assembly at an educational facility or library near you or if you know of a class or school eager to dream up a new book with me, please email me.
Hope to you soon.