One hand shot up immediately.
“I’d go out for track,” one of the older boys said.
“I’d buy skates,” his younger sister joined in. “Lots of ‘em,” she added.
The story hour at the library was going well. Some of the children were shy, while others were eager to get involved in the activities surrounding Duckett’s colorfully illustrated book about problem-solving.
After the young readers heard the story, they read lines from the pages, acting out the personalities of the creepy-crawly characters with deep and high-pitched voices. Duckett’s three centipedes each have a problem in her plot. One is dressed in jewelry, one in cowboy boots and one in tennis shoes. The young students wore different hats to help shape the nature of their individual arthropod and seemed to completely enjoy the world of small wildlife they had just entered.
It’s these reactions from different ages that Duckett is enjoying most as she promotes her books in schools and libraries through mid-November.
“I love to watch the children and see their smiles or puzzled looks,” she said.
There are plenty of opportunities to respond — a page on the moral to be learned follows the story as well as facts about centipedes, a glossary and follow-up questions to ponder. Young audiences at the story hours learn that having 100 legs is a blessing. The book encourages children to solve their problems by thinking things out, by trying hard and by not giving up. And the strategy? One step at a time, of course.
As a classroom tool, Duckett suggests that students take their impression of the book one step further.
“Why not write a sequel?” she will ask, depending on the age group attending. The book is best enjoyed by pre-school age through sixth grade, she added.
The book tour marks the anniversary of a year of sharing the pages with groups. One Step At A Time is published by Book Surge Company, an affiliate of Amazon Books. It is illustrated by Annie B. Lee.
The writer has completed 31 years of teaching, mostly in public schools. Currently, she writes regularly for The Oxford Sun, the Anniston/Gadsden Christian Family Magazine, and does special assignment articles for The Star. Duckett’s first book was Digging From Attics to Basements, a workbook on genealogy for families.
The next two stops on her tour are Oct. 27 and Nov. 8, both at the Public Library of Anniston/Calhoun County. The Pumpkin Patch Party is at 4 p.m. Oct. 27 when Duckett will share spooky stories. (Wear your costume.) And at 10:30 p.m. Nov. 8 she will be featured at library story time.
The book, priced at $9.95, can be purchased at amazon.com.