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Coming Spring 2014 – Frogwilla, A Treefrog’s Story

Frogwilla, A Treefrog’s Story is an inspiring tale for children of all ages.  When a late summer storm floods the banks of the Great Pond, a young treefrog named Frogwilla finds herself separated from her mama and papa and her beloved home, Willow’s End.  Alone and scared, she soon finds the courage to venture out into the unknown on a quest to find her parents.  Many obstacles await her!  Along the way, Frogwilla discovers some unlikely friendships in a very hyper dragonfly named Sunshine and a shy turtle named Tucker.  Together, their journey teaches them the true meaning of hope, friendship and courage.

 

Inspiration for Frogwilla, A Treefrog’s Story

Cheri’s grandchildren have always played a big role in her passion for writing and publishing children’s picture books.  But, when one of Cheri’s grandchildren, Hannah, asked if she might consider trying her hand at writing a chapter book, Cheri wasn’t quite sure if she had the talent for jumping into another genre.  Loving a challenge, it didn’t take long before Cheri decided to give it a whirl, especially after falling in love with Hannah’s e-mail address.  You see, back then, Hannah had used the name, Frogwilla, for her very first e-mail address.  And, Hannah loves frogs…anything and everything to do with frogs!  And, as luck would have it, Cheri and her husband had a real treefrog that loved to visit their flower garden and hang out on the front deck during the summer.  “I think we might have a story here, Miss Hannah!” Cheri exclaimed.  And so, Frogwilla, A Treefrog’s Story began.

But, there’s more to this story!  Around that same time, Hannah’s older sister, Aubrey, began to take an interest in art…not surprising to any of us since the gift of drawing runs on the Hallwood side of the family.  Aubrey not only took an art class in high school, but enjoyed it so much she took some private lessons.  After seeing some of Aubrey’s artwork, Cheri had another idea.  Maybe, just maybe, Aubrey might consider drawing the illustrations for Frogwilla.  Aubrey happily agreed, but only if Grandpa (Cheri’s husband) would give some guidance.  Frogwilla was now more than a story, she was truly a family affair!

From left to right, Cheri with Granddaughters, Aubrey and Hannah Curl and Grandpa Hallwood (Cheri's Husband)

Photo of the real Frogwilla.

 

 

Berrien RESA and Cheri L. Hallwood
Present “The Curious Polka~Dot Present”

 

Over the past four years ‘I have had the pleasure of interacting with students K-3rd grade throughout the country by way of videoconference programs provided by the Berrien RESA Organization ((Regional Education Service Agency) in Berrien Springs, Michigan.  RESA is a worthwhile organization that offers students the opportunity to participate in programs designed to enhance their curriculum by speaking and working with authors or a specialist in a topic they are learning about at school.  I cannot begin to tell you how much I look forward to being invited into each and every classroom to share my books, but this past December proved to be one of the most rewarding and delightful programs I would be involved in.


On December 17th,  I had my first hands-on videoconference by not only sharing  my children’s book, The Curious Polka~Dot Present, but by working with the students and their teachers on my first program involving a craft.  With the help of Liz Andrews, RESA Art Coordinator, we presented a program to over 500 Michigan students using the theme from my book, the giving and receiving of a handmade gift.  With Christmas only a week away, we thought it would be fun and educational to create a holiday greeting card.   We wanted to have some fun so we chose to kick it up a notch by making a “pop-up” holiday card.  We even invited the 2nd and 3rd grade students to use their imaginations and writing skills by writing an Acrostic Poem for their holiday pop-up cards. 
Oh what fun we had!  The children were absolutely amazing!  How exciting it was to watch each and every student as they worked so diligently on their cards.  Each one taking such care as they meticulously cut out their paper shapes while picking just the right colors for each and every unique design.  We could see the love and pride in their faces as some of the students took turns coming before the camera to share their precious one-of-a-kind holiday cards with us.  It was such a heartwarming experience! 


Special thanks to Josh Bridges, RESA Distance Learning Coordinator, Liz Andrews, and all the wonderful teachers.

Below are some comments on “The Curious Polka~Dot Present” videoconference from teachers that participated.

Cheri,
Thank you very much for the wonderful story and cardmaking
project yesterday. My third grade class really enjoyed it. We had
worked on our acrostic poems before we participated and was a good
experience by itself, but then for the students to be able to create
the card and put their own poem in it was really meaningful. They
really enjoyed learning to make the "pop up" parts of the cards the
best I think. That was very SPECIAL. :) Thank you again for your
time. Tammy Artis, Bangor, MI
  
Cheri-
On behalf of my students, I would like to thank you for taking the time to do this videoconference with my class. They loved your story and making the holiday cards for their family. We wrapped their family gifts on Monday and attached their cards to their gifts. Boy, were they proud to take those home!

I read lots of books to my kindergartners and always tell who is the author and illustrator of the story. They bring me books off the bookshelf to have me read about the author and illustrator on the back flap. So, they were thrilled to get to see a "real" book author!

Thanks again for providing this service to our students.
Kimberle Byrd
South Walnut Elementary
Bangor, Michigan

For more information on how your school can participate in one of the many Berrien RESA videoconferences, contact Josh Bridges at josh.bridges@berrienresa.org or visit www.berrienresa.org

 

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