Talkshow Thursday: Meet Jenny Fulton
Jenny: As a mother and an educator, I’ve read my share of alphabet books. Since my daughters have big imaginations and enjoy such fantasy creatures as unicorns, mermaids, and dragons, I thought it would be fun to write an ABC book that included those fantasy elements in a lighthearted, educational way.
LM: You’ve traveled abroad and taught in multiple settings. How did you decide to focus on Native American culture in the book?
Jenny: In short, because it’s part of who I am. I grew up in Kansas but am an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation. My great-grandpa was a Navajo medicine man, and my Grandma (Lillian) Litfin was an interpreter at Torreon Navajo Mission near Cuba, NM. I loved the reservation lands from the moment I first saw them and have equally enjoyed getting to know the Navajo people. I’ve always proud of that part of my heritage and it has been a joy to include it now in the books I write.
LM: How did you find your illustrator and what was it like to work with her?
LM: What was your process for writing the book, and how long did it take?
Jenny: This book went through several changes. I first wrote it in 2019 with a teacher giving a basic ‘A is for apple’ lesson and an imaginative girl picturing a wild fantasy-themed scenario. I submitted this version to agents, but though there were a couple who were initially interested, it wasn’t accepted anywhere. After I published Princess Lillian and Grandpa’s Goodbye in 2021, I came back to this manuscript, decided to put the older sister in the teacher’s place and show the girls imagining and interacting with their different personalities. I wrote the current version in a morning but spent a few months running it by critique partners and editors, and self-published it this year in June.
LM: What was your favorite childhood book and why?
Jenny: Too many favorites! But since this is about my picture book, the two picture books I enjoyed and remember the most from my childhood are The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses by Paul Goble and Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters by John Steptoe. For both books, I loved the different ethnicities presented and the folktale, fanciful/magical feel they had. I also enjoyed the Cinderella-style lesson in Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters.
LM: What one piece of advice would you give to fledgling writers?
Jenny: Learn what you can about the art and mechanics of writing, but keep your own voice and write from your heart.
Jenny: I have a Bible Study on 1 Corinthians that is in the publishing process with a traditional publisher, am working on my next picture book with the same characters, and on a Navajo mystery novel with another author.
Linda: Where can folks connect with you?
Jenny: Website: https://heart-soul-mind.org/
About A Princesses' Guide to the Alphabet
“D is for dancing dragons,” Lillian declared.
Zoe drenched diamond duchesses.
Filled with such fairy-tale favorites as dragons, elves, fairies, mermaids, and unicorns, this book provides an entertaining way to introduce the letters of the alphabet, identify their sounds, build vocabulary, and discuss other language arts skills.
It is a well-known fact that not all princesses are the same. While Lillian is a gentle, daydreamy Navajo one, little sister Zoe is of the rough-n-tumble warrior variety. As the day progresses, their perspectives produce distance, conflict, and unity.
Great for Educators!
This book teaches children much more than the A-B-Cs.
In addition to letter and sound recognition that includes multiple vowel sounds, this book can be used to teach:
- Alliteration (Zoe magnetized moon mermaids.)
- Characters and Personalities (How are Lillian and Zoe different and alike?)
- Dialogue Tags and Punctuation (“A is for awkward aerial acrobats,” announced Lillian.)
- Grammar (nouns, verbs, and adjectives)
- Vocabulary (aerial, frolicked, quelled...)
- Active Voice: vs. Passive Voice (Zoe drenched... vs. “D is for…”) Go to heart-soul-mind.org to download free lesson plans.
Purchase Link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B09RQCHMDN