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Heather Champion

About the Author

DECATUR, ILL. Ever since she was a little girl, Heather Champion has loved to read, often getting into trouble during class because she would read instead of doing her homework. She can't remember a time when she wasn't engaged in a book.

photo"My parents really encouraged this, and I have many memories of them reading to me," she says.

It's always been a dream of Champion's to write and publish a children's book, but she never had the chance to achieve this dream while she was in college, until she took Professor Christie Magoulias' children's literacy class at Millikin University in Decatur, Ill. This course challenged her to use her early literacy experiences and turn them into a children's story. Considering the assignment good practice toward her goal, Champion worked hard on the project but had no expectations of it being published.

"My classmates ultimately encouraged me and informed me about Bronze Man Books," she says. "I took it over to them, and the rest is history. It was really an affirmation of something I had prayed and hoped for."

A native of Cerro Gordo, Ill., Champion graduated from Cerro Gordo High School in 2004 and originally pursued a graphics arts degree at Millikin but discovered her true passion for teaching while at Millikin. She switched her major to early childhood education and spent an additional two years at Richland Community College in Decatur before ultimately finishing her Millikin degree. She is currently a second-grade teacher at Argenta-Oreana Elementary School in Oreana, Ill., and mother to Clover.

As an educator, Champion constantly sees the struggle that some children go through when learning how to read, so "Monsters Don't Read" was born.

Why a monster?

"My father always read me the book, 'The Monster at the End of this Book,' with Grover from Sesame Street," she explains. "This is a really fond memory for me, so I chose to include this by making the main character a monster."

And her experience as a mother heavily contributed to the style of the children's book.

"My daughter and I love to read together, and I find the easiest and most enjoyable books for us to read are those that carry a rhythmic tone," she says. "I really wanted to incorporate this into the story."

Champion also thinks that predictability is an important feature in children's books because it makes it easier for students to successfully read and build their fluency.

"One of the most fantastic things is to see the pieces finally fit as the student becomes a competent reader," she says. "It is just great to see them make it through the work and gain the excitement of reading. I wanted to depict this struggle in a story and encourage students to enjoy reading."

Book by Heather Champion

Monsters Don't Read is the third book in the Bronze Man Book's line of children's books. It is currently available for $12.00 plus $2.50 shipping. For more information on Monsters Don't Read visit <http://www.bronzemanbooks.com> or e-mail Randy Brooks at <rbrooks@millikin.edu>.

Monsters Don't Read. Bronze Man Books, Millikin University, (Decatur, IL), 2010.


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