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The Message Of Positivity

Maria Cedolini Thompson
Maria Cedolini Thompson Author Interview

Our 20/20 Journey Back to School talks about returning to school in a post COVID world, what was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

The inspiration for this setup to my story was the thoughts in my head about returning to school a few days before our return in February of 2021. I was fortunate enough to have my first-grade class loop up to second grade with me and so I knew the questions that they had been asking and had built a strong relationship with both my students and their parents. As a parent myself, I knew the importance of letting my community know that we are all in this together and that anything is possible (even though a pandemic). The message of positivity was necessary for all of us to cope with these challenges. The idea that we would conquer them as a team, was most important to me!

The artwork was very creative and engaging for young readers. What was the collaboration process like between you and the illustrator?

The collaboration with Daria Shamolina was amazing. She lives in the Ukraine and I have yet to meet her face to face or even on Facetime/Zoom. I trusted that she would produce incredible illustrations and she was truly able to make the story come to life. I found Daria on a Facebook Author page and saw her previous work and emailed her. I think it was meant to be because she had now illustrated my second book as well.

Returning to normalcy in a post COVID environment is challenging for adults and kids; you touched on the perspective of teachers and children in a relatable way. What was your thought process in writing this content in order to appeal to both the children and the adults reading with them?

In collaborating with teachers at my school and in Covid Facebook groups, I really got a good sense of what “all” teachers were going through. I learned so many things from the many groups I followed and was so thankful for the many resources that I had access to during this time. I really tried to put myself in the shoes of my students and think about how they might be feeling through this unprecedented time. I couldn’t be prouder of my group of students who were warriors through the Pandemic and who supported each other and myself alike!

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

My second book was just released at the end of November on both Amazon and Ingram Spark, it is called, “Lucky the Leprechaun on the Loose”. It is about a legendary St. Patrick’s Day leprechaun. Each year during the month of March up until the family Irish holiday, Lucky comes to visit children at school and at home. But he isn’t just here for a visit! Lucky wants to create some March magic by hiding toys, leaving messages and surprises, and even making messes while the children aren’t looking. In the spirit of The Elf on the Shelf, Lucky brings much delight to the hearts of children during this wonderful holiday time.

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook | Instagram

“Our 20/20 Journey Back to School” is told from the children’s perspective and starts at the beginning of the Pandemic when students are home learning on Zoom. The children address both the challenges and positive aspects of their time spent at home. As the story continues, they tell of the changes to school upon their return. This story tugs on your heartstrings as the students return to school with joyful anticipation and describe the effects of the pandemic on their school experience. They explain how they are feeling and tell about the many unfamiliar changes in this new and different atmosphere. By the end of the book, they are able to express the importance of the class being together, whether on Zoom or in the classroom. This experience has opened their eyes (20/20 vision) and taught them the value of working together. While students and teachers have always been a team, 2020 truly taught us what teamwork was all about and the importance of our journey together and learning as a “class family”.

Our 20/20 Journey Back to School

Our 20/20 Journey Back to School by [Maria Thompson, Daria Shamolina]

The year of 2020, one none of us will soon forget. For teachers this is especially true. Teachers and students were thrown into a new world of uncertainty and change. What was not expected, was how strong students and teachers would come out of this year. Maria Cedolini Thompson’s children’s book, Our 20/20 Journey Back to School, is one of perseverance, strength, and having a positive attitude in the wake of things that you can not change.

This story gives a teacher’s perspective to children on the events of the past year without fear or an agenda, just explaining things in a way children in elementary grades can understand and empathize with. Thompson address the fears children had and applauded their successes.  

Daria Shamolina has illustrated this book that is engaging, creative and just fun. One example is the children all have masks with funny faces on them. The colors are vibrant and draw the reader into the story. Together the prose and illustrations make for a touching story, a teachers passion to teach, and children’s desire to be in the classroom learning.  Our 20/20 Journey Back to School by Maria Cedolini Thompson will delight readers of all ages with a bright outlook for getting through a COVID world stronger.

Pages: 34 | ASIN: B09JW2WHHK

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