A Lynden schoolteacher’s first book as an author is being published this week, and has already been selected for a nationwide honor.
Rebecca Van Slyke celebrates the launch of “Mom School,” a charming look at how a child imagines where Mom learned to be Mom, with a free reading at noon Saturday, March 28, at Barnes and Noble Booksellers, 4099 Meridian St.
Van Slyke, who teaches second grade at Bernice Vossbeck Elementary, will read from her book and sign copies. She also will have free souvenirs, including bookmarks, a Mom School diploma, and a report card that kids can complete and give to their mothers — of course it has all A’s, she said.
“Mom School” is the first of three books that Van Slyke will see published in the next few months. She’s also the illustrator of several picture books by MaryAnn F. Kohl, including “Discovering Great Artists: Hands-On Art for Children in the Style of the Great Masters” and “Storybook Art,” featuring art projects in the style of famed children’s illustrators.
In addition, “Mom School” has been selected as the book for this year’s National Simultaneous Storytime event May 9.
“It’s going to be read all across the U.S.,” Van Slyke said, noting that “for this one, my mom is the inspiration. She graduated summa cum laude.”
Van Slyke will soon be traveling to bookstores across Washington to promote the book, which is aimed at readers aged 4 to 7. “Mom School” is illustrated with colored-pencil drawings by Priscilla Burris.
Van Slyke said her students are “pretty excited” about the book’s publication, but were less so when she told them she was going to meet two-time Newbery winner Kate DiCamillo at a recent literature conference.
“They said, ‘We already know a famous writer — you,’ ” she said. “They’re pretty proud of me. They know I’ve been working on it a long time.”
Van Slyke said “Mom School” was an exercise in perseverance and patience. She found her writer’s voice in young readers and hopes she conveys to her students the “importance of having a dream and sticking to it.”
“I always felt like I was a child inside,” she said. “It was kind of a magical time.”