For Belinda Diaz-Perez, publishing a children’s book is a dream come true.
As the author of the recent “Bully the Bullfrog,” she has written a story that resonates with the anti-bullying theme the state Department of Education has been encouraging.
A teacher since 1996, and a teacher at Jersey City school No. 3 since 2001, she has always wanted to write books for children. She said she loves children and writing books for kids, and “Bully the Bullfrog” also allowed her to use her love of animals to create stories.
Although she lives in Warren County with her husband, children, and family pets, she grew up in Jersey City.
She said as a teacher she wanted to reach children about a subject that most have some experience with, and perhaps give them something they can rely on when confronted by bullies.
“This is about Frankie working through this, and his courage to face the situation.” – Belinda Diaz-Perez
The story follows Frankie (a frog) and family when they move to a new pond.
“Frankie isn’t sure he will fit in, and he’s nervous about meeting new friends,” she said.
While he meets some nice frogs, he also meets Bully, who eyes Frankie as his next victim.
Apparently, Bully had terrorized other kids in the pond. But Frankie won’t be terrorized. The story shows how Frankie learns to deal with the situation, providing a life lesson for those children who might face similar circumstances. The book works out how he deals with the situation, and how others who were victims come to see him as a hero.
“This is about Frankie working through this and his courage to face the situation,” she said.
Frankie’s courage helps to liberate the pond.
Based on personal experience
Diaz-Perez said in teaching over the years, she has seen firsthand the negative impact bullying has on kids, and hopes the book will provide kids with hope. She said the book came into her head a few years ago when she was teaching third graders.
“At the beginning, I wasn’t really sure about how to go about starting,” she said. She started writing, and spent the summer putting it together.
“But I put it aside, and then started to shop it around in the fall,” she said. “The publisher found the illustrator.”
The book is illustrated by Kelsey Wilson.
“The publisher showed me samples of the work, and it seemed to fit what I wrote,” she said.
Diaz-Perez has a Bachelor’s Degree in English/Journalism and a Master’s Degree in School Administration/Supervision and will soon be receiving certifications in ESL/Bilingual Education.
“I hope to continue writing stories for children,” she said. “I have two other books complete and one I’m working on,” she said.
Because the state has encouraged schools to adopt an anti-bullying curriculum, she believes the book would do well in classrooms, and hopes to do a Spanish-language version of “Bully the Bullfrog.”
“I would like to take that book into ESL classes,” she said.
She has already used the book in her classes in Jersey City, even setting up a table with a lot of the characters for visual effect.
Sales have been brisk and she is nearly out of those she has on stock, although the books can be preordered from Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com. The book costs about $14.95.
Al Sullivan may be reached at email@example.com.