I had the opportunity to interview Children’s book author, Alyssa Nicole. We talk her new book “Protector of the Ocean” and much more.
I love to ask authors this question, What are you reading right now?
I just finished reading “Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens. I loved that book! It is a beautifully written novel about a young outcast named Kya. It takes place in the marshland of North Carolina. I would highly recommend it. Now, I am looking for a book that can teach me how to be more sustainable. I might read “101 Ways to Go Zero Waste” by Kathryn Kellogg next. There is a lot on my list though!
Talk to me about your love for the environment, where does that come from?
As a child, I always loved playing outside. I was rarely inside if it was nice out. My dad would always introduce my sister and me to new nature concepts and animals. We learned a lot about nature from him. We were constantly exploring while on the lookout for frogs, salamanders, turtles, snails, and more. We have a pond in our backyard and we spent a lot of our time finding creatures there. In addition, my family went on beach vacations once a year starting when I was a little kid. That’s when I fell in love with the ocean. Snorkeling became my favorite activity almost immediately. I would just explore the ocean and find new creatures for the entire day. My back would be sunburnt all the time! Last year was the first time I was able to try scuba diving, and it was an unreal experience. It felt like I experienced a different planet. It was so beautiful and I was able to see creatures I had never discovered before such as pufferfish, octopus, huge manta rays, and more. The colors and beauty of the coral reef astounded me. I know the coral reefs are disappearing, and I want to protect them along with all sea life.
Elementary school teacher now author, talk to me about the balance of both of those worlds?
I think that being an elementary school teacher and a children’s book author is the perfect balance if you are passionate about both. Ever since I was a child, I wanted to be a teacher who wrote children’s books during my summers to read to my class. Thankfully, I grew up with many excellent teachers who sparked my passion even more.
I am a second-grade teacher and decided to write this book at the end of the summer, in the middle of the pandemic. When the school year started in August, half of my school was in-person, including myself. So, I didn’t have much time to start the book as a lot was different in school with the pandemic. There were a lot of rules and expectations that I needed to focus on. I also used a lot of time after school to replan activities I had done in the past, but with the covid-restrictions. At first, it was pretty difficult thinking of ways to teach to my same standard with the restrictions, but with my creativity, I found great ways to teach the same concepts. After about two months, I was used to the Covid restrictions at my school and found ways to quickly replan my lessons and activities. In October, when things settled down, I finally started writing Protector of the Ocean.
I am so glad that I decided to write it during the school year instead of the summer. The main reason for this is because my students are my main target audience. Thus, they have given me excellent feedback on the book from my word choice to the illustrations within the book. Whenever I get a new illustration sent to me from my illustrator, Melissa Pham, my students give me feedback on it and I text her what revisions they suggested. Their ideas are so clever. I would have never thought of some of their ideas, but they add so much to the book! Also, I know that children around their age will be reading the book, so their ideas and suggestions are very valuable.
All in all, I think the balance of being a teacher and writing a book is great, as long as you have the motivation after school and on the weekends to work on the book.
What should we expect from your new book “Protector of the Ocean“?
Protector of the Ocean is about an adventurous girl named Kai who loves to spend time by the ocean. As a young child, she meets a sweet turtle friend named Bella, and they play together in a beautiful, clean ocean. As Kai gets older, she witnesses the effects of pollution on the habitat of her friend and comes back to help protect and preserve the ocean for her and all the other creatures. The story shares important messages about friendship, protecting the environment, helping others, and empowering children to follow their dreams and make a positive impact. There are also dozens of hidden messages scattered throughout the book that are just as powerful including:
-One person can initiate a change and a chain reaction of change.
-I want them to see that girls can be in STEM careers, too.
-Be conscious of the world around you.
-Stand up for what you believe in.
-Believe in yourself.
-If you’re passionate about something, follow your dream, even if it seems unattainable at first.
-Make good choices, even if everyone around you isn’t.
-You can change for the better whenever you choose.
And so many more!
Are there any other projects or books we can expect from you in the future?
Yes, I am writing a sequel to this book! I have started the idea process but have not written it yet. A character is introduced at the end of “Protector of the Ocean,” that just might play a big role in the sequel! 🙂
To find out more about Alyssa Nicole, go to www.alyssanicolebooks.com