‘Frieda B.’ series author encourages kids to write their own story

'Frieda B.' series author encourages kids to write their own story

Connecticut-based author Renata Bowers’ “Frieda B.” series books are written to encourage both literacy and empathy in children. ( Children’s book author Renata Bowers is as delightful in interview as her character Frieda B., whose name carries the message “free-to-be,” is to read. The Connecticut resident believes story building can help children nurture their own possibilities. Her series of five “Frieda B.” books involves her spirited, barefooted character imagining an adventure in tandem with dog Zilla, and learning about herself and engagement with others from the mishaps and pleasures that follow. Frieda B., said the 51-year-old Somers resident, “examples what it is like to use your imagination to explore the world that is unique to you.” “You are free-to-be the one-of-a-kind, amazing story that is inside you,” Bowers said. “This is the impetus to where this series has gone. I have loved every minute of it. Each book tackles a different adventure, life lesson. It is all about believing in your own story but being good to the stories of others. It has a very strong autonomy- community approach throughout the series.” Bowers said she writes in rhyme so the books can be read aloud to the very youngest and “help develop within the child a sense of the written word.” “This means,” Bowers said, “that as the child moves into being three or four they are memorizing the story which helps them become readers and there is so much meat in the form of life lessons and I throw in some difficult vocabulary that the interest in the series stretches up to the fifth-grade reader.” Writing the books has expanded into doing a related educator’s handbook for a curriculum that focuses on what Bowers calls the “whole” child – their social and emotional development – and doing professional development with teachers. Schools that helped pilot the curriculum program last year that integrates with English language arts include Springfield’s William N. DeBerry Elementary School, Wolf Swamp Road Elementary in Longmeadow and the Enfield (Conn.) Street School. In her forthcoming book, “Frieda B. Knows it’s True . . .You Are Free to be YOU,” with series illustrator Michael Chesworth of Amherst, Bowers uses her rhyme and rhythm approach to speak directly to the reader about writing the story within them. “The book that is coming out is the book that I have wanted to write but the series wasn’t ready for it yet,” said Bowers whose first book, “Frieda B. Herself,” published in 2010. “The series needed to be established with a character and life lessons.” In the first book, Bowers introduces her character as “the world’s biggest dreamer” until one night her bedtime dreams won’t come in a darkened room. Imagination, however, shows a frustrated Freida B. that such dreams can be nudged in many ways as she watches her pillow’s feathers take flight and become farm animals. The book concludes by telling the reader “the world’s biggest dreamer is also in you” and to “dream your dreams big […]

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