Author’s Lounge – introducing Holly B. Hansen!
and how her books can help toddlers with speech struggles.
Written by: Holly B. Hansen
“We stumble as we learn to walk, and we struggle as we learn to talk!” -Holly B. Hansen
I wrote a book about a little boy named Michael who is having trouble saying a word and getting a certain sandwich that he can’t quite pronounce. Michael gets increasingly hungry and upset by people not understanding what he’s saying! His friend Ella tries to help, as well as a teacher from their school. Between them, they figure out that he’s simply saying “Girl” instead of “Grilled”. A simple yet confusing mistake. Michael learns that with friends, a little effort, and some persistence, we CAN figure these things out. He and Ella end up getting grilled cheese sandwiches when they return to his house and are thrilled.
My husband was/is my inspiration. His name is Michael and he had trouble with two words as a toddler and after he mentioned it to me last fall, I created this little story for kids the following day. The 2nd book in the Michael series of stories will be: “Michael and the Peebububu Sandwich” which although a similar premise, will teach kids in more depth, how we can work out these questions on our own, as well as other suggestions on how to go about figuring out a tough word. We will work on sounding-it-out and other suggestions. The goal is to help them become more resourceful and to utilize the help they have around them already, like a teacher, parent or friend. We also show the children that even adults struggle with how to say things correctly, by using examples of adult mishaps with names and introductions etc. All people struggle with this, and you don’t need to feel silly, embarrassed, or ashamed. We stumble as we learn to walk, and we struggle as we learn to talk!
My target audience is babies, toddlers, and preschool aged kids. I hope my readers will gain confidence, have some new ideas and feel positive after reading my book. My goals and plans for the book are for children to get the chance to read it. The kids who are suffering and struggling need to see that asking around is a great idea! (Example: Who in this room might know the answer?) We’re showing them how to use their resources and the people they know and trust to guide them to success!
Background on me: I grew up in Connecticut in a large family. We had: Mom, Dad, Robin, Holly, Heather, Amber, and Ryan. I grew up helping Mom with and eventually babysitting children of all ages. Our family took lots of trips to amazing places and we always loved being outdoors and hiking or camping together. We had loving parents who knew how important reading books to us at all ages was. We had a story every night before bed, and we couldn’t wait to see what was going to happen next!
In my spare time, I love to spend time with family, hike in the mountains, play with my two dogs (Graham and Apollo) and my cat (Kiki) and I always watch Star Trek before bed. I also love singing and lately I am enjoying lady jazz singers like Samara Joy. I have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and struggled a lot throughout my school years, and I struggle as an adult. Kids are more than a label and a gentle reminder for parents: teachers are not Doctors. Never allow a teacher to shame you or your child because they ‘think’ your child is _____ whatever label. Only a Doctor can make this claim, and preferably not in front of the child. It hurts children when they are labeled. Please take care if your child is special (ADD, ADHD, Autistic etc.) and avoid labeling the child aloud. I can still feel the sting of overhearing my mom and Dad talking about me one time:
“If we could just figure out what’s wrong with her, we’d all be great! It could be a severe allergy, or maybe she’s hyperactive…?” (Dad)
“Yeah, I mean why is she SO SPAZZY all the time? It’s so embarrassing when we go over other people’s houses!” (Mom)
This conversation they probably both needed, to vent and let off steam – really hurt me deeply. It still hurts as I type this in 2023 at 49 years old. I am and was so much more than a label, and I am going to do so much more than what anyone thought I could! I can understand how kids feel because I was them long ago and I don’t want anyone to feel how I felt. I do this for them. Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed reading.
Why toddler books? I guess because I have always loved babies, toddlers, and children in general. I also had a magical way with infants and was able to ‘sense’ whatever they needed. Babies, toddlers, and the magical way they see things, and the stuff they come up with, always amazes, perplexes, and impresses me. Their wisdom is what I live and laugh for, and I want them to feel more confident and stronger after reading my books. After the story, there is a discussion section, where the kids can also talk about the different aspects of the story, with their parent (or caregiver) who read it with/to them. This section covers our feelings with thought-provoking questions like:
“How can we help when someone is having trouble saying a word the right way?”
I do not provide the ‘answers’ for these, as a parent is the best to guide them through this part. Some answers could be: 1) Ask them questions until we can figure out what/the context and try to help them from there. Or, 2) find a teacher or adult and try to ask them. Etc. There is no wrong answer, and this is mostly to help children without this issue to understand and relate to those who do, as well as let kids see that they are not the only person who has this problem. The difference between adults and kids is that adults know how to figure out what the context is and go from there. Kids don’t know how to do this yet, but we can guide them so easily and with minimal effort.
Although I am frustrated with the lack of sales from self-publishing on KDP, it wasn’t about money. I’m hopeful that Author’s Lounge might be helpful for me as a new author. I just wish more people knew about the book and would buy it for their children. I’m so excited for kids to read and enjoy my books and I hope that parents and teachers will love it too. If my books helps one child to feel better, I win. We all win.
To buy a copy of ‘Michael and the Girl Cheese Sandwich’, the book is online at both Amazon and Walmart (Available in 2 sizes: 6X9 or 8.5X11):
For inquiries: [email protected]