As a teacher, librarian and mother of three, I live a life full of children's books. I love to collect them, organize them, read them, and write them! My passion for children's literature developed in elementary school, where I had the unique opportunity to meet some amazing children's authors through school visits.
My signed copies of books written by these special visitors were more than mementos from their visits. They were subtle reminders that creative individuals were responsible for the stories I was enjoying!
When I was in third grade, my teacher helped each of her students “publish” a book from start to finish. Through Writer's Workshop, we wrote, edited, and finalized our text; illustrated our stories; designed book covers; and developed our own copyright pages. This experience was not only fun, it was satisfying. I felt like a real author at the age of nine. Thank you, Mrs. Parenza!
When my brother, sister, and I were little, our parents read to us every night. I still have my cherished books from childhood. However, it wasn't until college that my children’s book collection really began to grow. While I was working on my BA in Early Childhood Development at Arizona State University, I enrolled in Literature in the Classroom. My professor opened my eyes to all the incredible possibilities for teaching with books, and a collection began. It was about that time that I began volunteering at the Scottsdale Civic Center Library, too, where I would pick up used picture books for 10-15¢ a piece!
My first book, Starry’s Haircut, was inspired by my middle son, who at two years old, was terrified of getting his hair cut. At the same time, my oldest son was attending Montessori Center School in Phoenix. There, the students took care of a sheep named Starry. Every spring, the children observed Starry having her wool sheared, and I wondered if Starry was ever nervous about her "haircut".
My second book, Up Up Up, started out as a manuscript entry in the First Edition Project Children's Book Contest, hosted by Southwest Human Development (Arizona's largest non-profit dedicated to early childhood development). When I heard the news that it was selected and my book was going to be published, I was beyond thrilled! Working with an organization dedicated to increasing literacy in the state where I have lived my entire life has been an honor. And imagine my surprise when I met the chosen illustrator, Michael Hale, and found out we live in the same neighborhood!
I have been working on my third book, Starry Gets Lost, for several years now and am very excited about its upcoming release. Taking Starry on an adventure in the sequel to Starry's Haircut has been so much fun! I worked with Tucson artist Nikki Brzescinski, who says the following about the book, "Starry is definitely a desert sheep in a world subtly rich in vegetation, with charming houses, easy life, and kind hearted children from lots of different families. That’s Arizona to me!" We both love the smell of Arizona orange blossoms in the spring; so we made sure they were a big part of the story. I hope Starry Gets Lost sends the message that sheep are actually quite intelligent and that it inspires children not to give up hope, even it when it seems all is lost.
Reading aloud to children is one of my favorite things to do. In fact, I have enjoyed reading aloud to young audiences for almost twenty years. As a library media specialist at Rover Elementary School in Tempe and later as the librarian at Christ Church School in Paradise Valley, I read and taught library skills to children ages three to twelve years.
Music, crafts, puppets, games, and author studies and visits helped me engage my students in all kinds of stories. And we had a blast! Now I visit schools and host story times at events, sharing my love for children's literature and reading my very own books!
I adore books, respect children, and believe in the power of reading! Welcome to my website!
~ Phoebe Fox