Waldorf author Bernetta Simmons recently published her book “Edna Elephant Stops Bullying at School” through Dorrance Publishing.
Simmons said her parents were sticklers for books and the shelves in the family home was filled with “everything from medical books, vivid colorful bibles, encyclopedias, volumes of Child Craft books and of course, a collection of comic books.”
She enjoys reading to others and as such will often visit nursing homes, libraries and elementary schools to share her writings and said “the delight and joy others receive from hearing words I have written is priceless.”
Simmons lives with her two dogs.
The book is available at www.amazon.com.
How long have you been writing, and how did you get started?
I remember as a young child going to see Peter Pan. I was enthralled with the magical movement of Tinker Bell and how the realism experience of hearing the audience clapping to help bring Tinker Bell to life. From that moment on, I began to write my own plays and had my two sisters serve as the cast. In college in literature and writing courses, I remember developing plots based on Edgar Allen Poe’s mysteries. Later, as a teacher, I continued to write poems, short scripts, songs and theme plays for my school’s events. I feel those circumstances put me on a permanent journey of writing.
What inspires you to write?
Inspiration to write comes easily for me, but experience as a teacher of early childhood education conjures up my imagination to write children’s books. Children interacting socially are the ingredients to fire up one’s creativity.
Do you consider writing to be a career?
Yes, because it is the one thing that makes me truly happy. I feel writing is a gift and that I was “born to write.”
What kind of writing process do you use?
Sitting at my computer, I usually have an idea in mind and then begin to expand on it as my story comes to life. I’ve found that even while driving, an idea of a story may come to mind. Sometimes jotting down quick ideas on a notepad at a long traffic jam helps me to map out my thoughts later where I make my character come alive. This entails and leads to a prewriting step where I begin with a main character, build him or her up and later revise or enhance the stages of my character’s development. For the middle phase of my writing particularly if it’s a children’s book, my character usually has some type of goal or a problem to be solved. As I come to the conclusion, I always try to make the solution a happy or a surprising one for the young reader. The editing process allows me to return to the text, proofread and expand where needed.
Who are some of your favorite authors and why?
I’ve always enjoyed Edgar Allen Poe’s stories. I admired the mystery, the romance, and sometimes the unknowing darkness of events. Poe’s prolific talents gave me the confidence that I, too, could be a writer of comedy, fiction, mystery, poems, and song writing and encouraged me to indulge in writing adult novels, children’s books, and books of poetry and plays. Shel Silverstein is another of my favorite authors. His book, “The Giving Tree” inspired me in my writings because of the morality lesson expressed near the conclusion of the book.
What are you working on now?
Presently I am putting the finishing icing on a children’s Christmas book titled, “Tanna, the Christmas Bear. “ Something is always “baking in the oven” and often I am writing two or three stories at a time.
What do you want readers to know about you?
I would like my readers to know that if they are thinking of writing a book, poetry, or anything of interest to them, to always jot down ideas, and keep an active journal. Writing 15 minutes a day will definitely be a jump start on getting that book finished. I encourage all beginning writers to write about personal experiences especially if it’s a book about children! Memories of past childhood moments are the best foundation for a children’s book. Being a mother, grandmother and former teacher keep fresh ideas flowing so that I never have writer’s block.
Please include a brief description of your book.
“Edna Elephant Stops Bullying at School” uses animals to convey a message about preventative measures used to stop bullying in its tracks. Edna Elephant reminds readers that all human beings are important and to choose their words wisely when speaking to others. Parents, teachers, churches, and children will enjoy this book and can use it as a tool to teach kindness and respect for their peers. This book will encourage young readers that they should always speak up and inform parents or teachers or other reliable adults if ever confronted with a bullying experience.
“Bullying is cruel and it hurts a lot
So if someone bullies you, shout until it stops.
Tell a friend or tell a teacher
Tell someone at church, or even your preacher.
If the words others say make you feel small or bad,
Tell your parents why you are sad.
Never keep it in.
Bullying has to stop before it begins.
Words are meant to make you feel happy;
Bullies are mean and want you to feel crappy.
Words are meant to make you laugh and smile.
Use them kindly; stand up and be proud.
Together in pairs or a group,
If you see someone being victimized,
Jump in verbally and be a friend.
By using your voice, you have begun to make the right choice.
Together we animals can make bullying end!
Every animal, let’s shout AMEN!”