Author Chats: Christine Laforet
Teachers are the front line support for students who struggle with the anxiety that comes with being a different kid. If you're the parent of a gifted child, or one with ASD, ADHD, Dyslexia or other learning disabling conditions, you know that anxiety is part of the package. It's refreshing to meet author/teachers like Christine who write with an understanding of how these kids are wired and how to help them adapt.
Tell us a little about you. Besides being an author, what else do you do?
I received my M.A.Ed. from Baldwin-Wallace University and taught elementary and middle school students in the Cleveland area before getting married and becoming a stay-at-home mom. My children are older now, so I’m spending a lot of time at school sporting events and musical performances —and even more time driving kids around! I often write “on the go” and enjoy following blogs and participating in local critique groups.
What books have you written?
Bree and the Nametag Worries is the first book in the Being Bree chapter book series for young readers, ages 5-7. Readers meet Bree Wilson, a gifted six-year-old whose imagination spins her worries out of control.
It’s the start of a new school year, and Bree worries about the first day of school. At least her nametag will help her make friends so she’s not stuck playing one-kid tag at recess. But what if giant ants take her nametag to a picnic? Or what if stinky lunch fumes melt it? Taking belly breaths calms Bree’s worries …until her nametag disappears. How will she make friends without one?
What is your ideal audience?
Even though Bree and the Nametag Worries is written from the perspective of a gifted six-year-old, the book would be appropriate for any beginning reader. The chapter book format makes it an ideal read-aloud, and Bree’s calming down techniques could help all children.
How do your books address the particular reading needs of Background Noise Books audiences?
Often times, gifted children begin reading at a young age, and it’s important to provide appropriate reading material. In the Being Bree Series, beginning readers gain confidence when reading independently and use higher-order thinking skills like making predictions and inferences as they read. Kids can also analyze Bree’s actions and apply that knowledge to their own day-to-day activities.
Bree, like many gifted children, faces challenges due to her intense emotions and difficulty connecting with peers. Throughout the series, Bree recognizes when her feelings change and then models calm down techniques to regain self-control, providing readers with a beneficial tool when managing their own behavior. Readers who identify with Bree and her creative way of thinking may also find humor in her mishaps and exaggerations.
Who is your favorite author?
I read a lot of children’s books, especially chapter book series, so I’m having a hard time choosing just one author. Since I’m a huge fan of humorous, school-themed books, my favorite authors include Barbara Park, Mary Amato, Dav Pilkey, Dan Gutman, and Jeff Kinney.
Is there a child with special needs in your family or classroom? How do you help them with reading?
I’ve been blessed with children on the gifted spectrum, and they learned to read the same way I taught my inner-city students (just at an earlier age). By teaching phonemic awareness skills and using repetition, children gain confidence when reading which makes the transition to more complex texts less intimidating.
What are you working on next?
Book 2 in the Being Bree Series, Bree and the Loose Tooth Worries, releases April 2018. Bree worries about losing her first tooth until she finds out that the tooth fairy brought a classmate a bright and shiny ring. Bree wants one, too, especially since she’ll need it to be in The Girls with Bling Club. But when Bree accidentally swallows her tooth, she faces a new set of worries to overcome and problems to solve.