It's here. Flying Ketchup Press's first picture book! in Partnership with The Story Tree we will be publishing an artful picture book like nothing you've ever seen in ebook, audio, print and braille. Over and above, an ABC book, "What's That Sound?" teaches the letters in the order of the most common sounds with strategic visual concepts and artfully hand-cut illustrations. It's lyrical, poetic and came about when an educator met her students challenges with a song. “The concept that printed letters on a page represents a corresponding sound is key to educational empowerment,” said LeAnne Litka, author.
LeAnne Bauman Litka:
The idea for my book came from our family’s struggle to help one of our children learn to read. I watched helplessly he had difficulty in school. It was a slow, journey ending in a diagnosis of a learning disability. Teachers were puzzled that he could verbally respond correctly but seemed to refuse to do any written work. I was confused to realize he could remember the exact details of all 150 Pokémon but didn’t remember very many of the 26 alphabet sounds. My sweet happy child became angry, depressed, and school resistant. We sought help from many sources. When no progress was made, he spiraled into depression and anxiety. We tried a small private school, homeschooling, unschooling, and different combinations of all of them.
To make a long story short, not one thing helped him but rather a combination of things. Most important for his public-school experience was hiring an educational psychologist to diagnose his specific learning disability. She also accompanied me to a meeting at school in order to get the services he needed. During those years, in addition to the private therapies and tutoring we tried, I read extensively. My research focused mainly on how to teach reading to a child. I constantly worked with my son, trying the exercises I read about.
As he finally found the best ways to learn and work through his education, I decided my experience was perfect to help in a classroom setting, I became a para-educator in the public school system. Very soon, I noticed that kids often struggled with knowing all the letter sounds as late as third grade and sometimes even later. One child, in particular, tugged at my heart. He seemed to have the same difficulties as my son had at that age. As a para-educator, my work with him was limited to a few short sessions a week. Many fine professionals and specialist worked with this student! His difficulty was puzzling to everyone. It was eye opening to me. I felt I had witnessed my son’s exact difficulties in school from another perspective. First it absolutely broke my heart. Second, something amazing happened.
On a car ride home, I thought about that student's reading challenges combined with all I knew from a parent’s experience and from the clasroom. As I wondered if there was anything that could help, the words to “What’s That Sound?” came to me. I fell in love with the idea immediately. The next morning, I began work on the book.
I see now I have always been a writer! From a very young age the feel of a sharpened pencil on soft white paper and the way my handwriting flowed out across the page made me feel peaceful. I always kept a journal. Most of my first writing was to companies praising their products. Often, I received samples in the mail-that was very exciting to me! I also enjoyed having pen pals and writing letters. In college, I received attention for my writing and art in various classes besides the art, crafts, and sewing I did at home. Thinking back, I often thought maybe I would want to write and illustrate a book someday.
As a young mother, I dropped my kids off at preschool, then went to the library to write. Once in awhile, I was so into my work I was late for pick up! When my kids were older, I began to take leaps of faith in myself by joining writing groups, attending lectures, and reading books about writing. Finally, I set up a desk area and gave myself office hours. I continued on this path for many years and that became my favorite time of day. I would, and still do, morning pages of art and journaling. So when I started creating "What's That Sound?" I naturally gravitated toward cut paper silhouettes and mono prints, two process that are often taught in early art education.
Through time and practice I found out which pictures helped students identify the sound most easily. Then I made sure that every image intentionally invites little fingers to touch and trace from top to bottom and track left to right. I decided the best thing would be to help students identify beginning middle and end sounds. So in my book, I use a star for “beginning,” diamond for “middle” and a circle for “end.” It helps children build sound connections at their own pace in a fun way that aids with recall. As a para-educator, I've seen how this work leads to instant letter-sound recognition. When you learn to read, it's like eating ice cream. What's better than that!
LeAnne Bauman Litka: Kansas illustrator and author with a passion for literacy and art. She creates cut-paper illustrations from handmade monoprints with creative color patterns. Maker of llama t-shirts, fairy doors, and other creative endeavors, her favorite thing is her morning studio time. LeAnne studied art and design at Kansas State University before beginning her own studio practice. She uses her art and writing both for personal enjoyment, and to create whimsical, one of a kind, resources for students, parents, and teachers.A mother of four grown kids, she lives in the Kansas City area with her family and her Siberian husky. Look out for more books and ideas in her series of fun and inspiring resources. Find her at LeAnneLitka.com.
This Tuesday, August 3rd at 6:30 Central our first online class sponsored by Ketchupedia, our outreach to writers. You are invited.
Does the thought of having to promote your upcoming or newly-released book make you want to run, scream, or take a fast flight, never to return? Would you rather scrub your grout, clean grime off your hubcaps, dust every baseboard in your house than face the prospect of figuring out how to do your own PR?
You’re not alone. We’ll cover all the outlets: reviewers, author websites, radio, regional and local TV, social sites, magazines, contests, awards, Amazon author pages, book sites, and more—and most importantly, we’ll talk about what’s the best use of our time (and what’s not), what not to waste our time on, how to whittle it all down to minutes a day, and where the fun parts are.
Flying Ketchup Press ® founded in 2018 to champion new and diverse voices in short fiction and poetry. We publish books, anthologies, podcasts, magazines, and contemporary media. Each year, Flying Ketchup Press produces collections of short stories and poetry by select authors, as well as an anthology dedicated to adult and teen readers. Our dream, to share worlds of wonder and delight.
Ketchupedia is an outreach of Flying Ketchup Press ® began in 2020 a grassroots network to connect the Kansas City & regional writers community through weekly blogs, a writer's word of the day podcast, a live poetry radio show, and two annual poet-in-residences including open mics, classes, and events to allow regional artists to explore motivation, creative goals, and advocacy. Our editorial mentorships create an exponential artist-tree effect. Instead of one poetry book a year, we add another poetry editor each year; each new editor is able to empower more poets, making room for poetry, as a space for personal narrative that empowers, heals, and unites diverse audiences. You can find us at Home | Flying Ketchup Press
Make friends with your inner editor. Just a dash.