This week author and retired teacher Anita K. Newman sat down with Leah to talk about her new children's book Clark the Colorblind Chameleon, illustrated by Asha Hossein. We also talk about her love of teaching kids through music, taking voice lessons as a lifelong learner, and finding time to get two additional degrees while teaching!
Clark the Colorblind Chameleon will be published on May 24, 2022.
Anita 0:01 My name is Anita K. Newman, and my favorite thing is singing with children-- teaching children through music.
Announcer 0:10 Welcome to the Finding Favorites podcast where we explore your favorite things without using an algorithm. Here's your host, Leah Jones.
Leah Jones 0:23 Hello, and welcome to Finding Favorites. I'm your host, Leah Jones. It is Easter Sunday. Also, the second full day of Passover. Also, it is somewhere in the month of Ramadan. So there are a lot of holidays converging this weekend, which is really special. I hope no matter which holiday you celebrate, you found meaning in it -- you had a nice meal or you had a meaningful fast. This week on the podcast, we are talking to Anita K. Newman. She is an author, a retired teacher -- I want to find some of her former students. I want to find the kids in Boston, who grew up singing her dinosaur musicals, and didn't know until they were an adult that everyone didn't sing dinosaur musicals.
Leah Jones 1:14 You'll hear more about it in the podcast, but if any of you knew Ms. Newman teaching in Worcester, Massachusetts, put 'em in touch -- I want these stories. It was a fun conversation with Anita; her children's book comes out at the end of May, and you'll hear more about that. I've started physical therapy a couple months, couple of weeks ago. I'm trying to get stronger as I recover, continue to recover, from chemotherapy and radiation. My doctor said I'm not bouncing back like she expected, so I also have more tests lined up to make sure there's nothing else hidden and wrong with me.
Leah Jones 2:02 That's just a winter of -- the winter of my recliner might be what happened to my core muscles combined with the chemotherapy, but I'm doing physical therapy, I'm trying to get stronger. I'm trying to regain my strength, regain my strength mostly. Other than that, I got my second booster. As someone who was is a cancer patient, I was eligible for a second booster, so I have now had four Pfizer shots. Really didn't have any side effects from this fourth one, I had kind of a lump in my arm, but that was about it. So, if you are eligible for a booster, go for it, get it. I'm not a medical doctor, I can't really give you advice on it. But if you can, if you're eligible, I definitely suggest it. And with that, wear your mask, wash your hands, and keep enjoying your favorite things.
Leah Jones 3:24 Hello, and welcome to Finding Favorites. I'm your host, Leah Jones. And this is the podcast where we get recommendations without using an algorithm. I am so pleased this evening to be joined by author Anita K. Newman. She has taught in Massachusetts, in Rome, kindergarten, first grade, bilingual. She is an opera singer, she has a master's degree in School Psychology, she's also a labor law attorney. She has done it all and this spring is celebrating the publication of the book "Clark the Colorblind Chameleon," which I'm very excited to learn more about -- Anita, how are you doing this evening?
Anita 4:10 I am doing really well for my first podcast.
Leah Jones 4:13 Yay. How exciting.
Anita 4:17 Yes.
Leah Jones 4:21 Is this also your first book launch?
Anita 4:25 It is. This is the first one I decided to do.
Leah Jones 4:33 We're going to talk more later about about teaching kids to sing, but I'm curious right off the bat -- how did how did this book come into the world?
Anita 4:45 I got the idea quite a few years ago, and I never acted on it. When I teach kindergarten or first grade, I read to the children a lot. For a break,` and also getting for them to be able to focus and get their imaginations working -- because they're used to videos, they're used to playing games. I decided this was probably the first book I really would like to do. And they had none -- I've read little chameleon books to them -- but none of them hit on this particular issue. So I said, "There's an open place there. I am going to write a book about it."
Leah Jones 5:29 It's so interesting. From the title of the book and the description I read, it seems like this is an opportunity to talk to kids about how people see the world differently, how bodies can be different, but put in the world of chameleons who change colors. For a chameleon to be colorblind, does that mean does he struggle to match his surroundings like the other chameleons do?
Anita 6:10 Yes, he can only see shades of gray. They don't really make fun of him, they just don't understand it, because I didn't want to do that in the book. But he also has to worry about protection. It's camouflage, and he has to worry about a predator coming along. He can't hide. So, it's also dangerous. Being different, it's dangerous for him, so he has to learn what to do. In the book, he goes to the wise chameleon, who tells him -- I think that's probably a school psychologist -- tells him, she tests him. She said, "You can change colors, you just don't see them. So you have to match shades of gray," which is extremely difficult.
Anita 7:09 So he has to practice and practice and practice to get the right color. And he has a difficult time and he gets discouraged. It also shows kids that things don't come immediately. You have to fight for them. You have to work for them, and have grit -- stick to it. Eventually, he does learn how to match and when he does, he can do many different colors. He can do things other chameleons cannot. So he becomes famous for these -- being able to do rainbow and what have you.
Leah Jones 7:45 Because he also doesn't know the limitations. How exciting.
Anita 7:51 Yes ... the premise of the book.
Leah Jones 7:54 Were you assigned the illustrator or is this someone that you knew?
Anita 8:00 It's someone I knew and I paid her to do it. Because, I love the way she does the artwork.
Leah Jones 8:11 It has a really beautiful, like watercolors that were then paper cuts almost.
Anita 8:19 It's like a collage of work. She did a really good job with the -- what do you see is she showed two pages that open up of grays -- what he sees so children can understand it. And then, he was trying to change the colors. She's very -- I wrote turn greeny-gray, and eventually finally makes it and she's able to do that -- she made beautiful paintings of that, too.
Leah Jones 8:52 How wonderful. Is this someone local to you that you can do a launch celebration with?
Anita 8:59 No, pretty far away. I think she's in Chicago, I've never actually met her. I met her through talking to her over the phone; I've never actually met her person to person, but I've seen her work.
Leah Jones 9:18 That's wonderful. Great -- and how can people get the book?
Anita 9:25 Well, it's coming out May 24th. I do know it's at Target and Walmart and Barnes and Noble. And Amazon. And that's all I know.
Leah Jones 9:41 That's so exciting. Right before Memorial Day, go into the summer with your end of the school year, with your new book out.
Anita 9:50 They were hoping to get librarians who are deciding what books to buy for the school. We're hoping to get those librarians to see the book and read it. It is exciting.
Leah Jones 10:08 Now that you have this first one coming out in the world in a couple of months, are there other chameleons stories or other stories that are starting to pop up for you?
Anita 10:19 Well, with him, yes. I decided to write a sequel, because I've noticed -- and take my time. I've noticed that people that when a book does well, and I'm hoping it will, they want sequels quickly. And unfortunately, I've noticed as a teacher, it'll come out and I want it, and I'll buy it, and it's nowhere near as good as the original. Kind of thrown together and always makes me kind of sad. So I'm talking my time with this particular sequel.
Leah Jones 10:56 And I imagine because she's not doing digital. Well, maybe she's doing digital art, but it feels very, it's not quick. It's not a quick-turn art that you're partnering with, artist.
Anita 11:15 I haven't even sent that to her yet. I'd have to have some kind of agreement to do to that. It's called "Clark Gets the Blues." Little children get the blues sometimes, too.
Leah Jones 11:43 How did you get -- you have such a fascinating bio, that I just I briefly touched on a few things in it. But where in the course of your career, you have been the lead soprano. Is it WOO-ster, Maine?
Anita 12:04 WUSS-ster.
Leah Jones 12:04 WUSS-ster -- I didn't say Worchester, I'm learning. [laughter] You are an opera singer, you're an attorney, you're a school psychologist, you teach the littles. Tell me a little --I'm just so curious how you have such a wonderful path, just in this short, little bio. Tell me a little bit about how your career came to be.
Anita 12:40 I started teaching and I started teaching bilingual. I did not enjoy, because it they stuck all the bilingual kids together, and it didn't matter where they were in learning. And it made it very, very difficult.
Leah Jones 12:59 Or even what their first language was.
Anita 13:02 No, this was all Spanish. Because I grew up in Venezuela; my dad was in oil. We went all over, but I was there for 10 years -- second grade to junior in high school. I got a lot of interesting experiences maybe you wouldn't get here. But I then went into music, I taught music first. The little kids. I think I am a little kid in many ways. When we finally had some openings, I moved to kindergarten. And then I did some first grade and then back to kindergarten.
Leah Jones 13:47 Wonderful.
Anita 13:49 I've always wanted to be learning something. So, I got a master's in School Psychology. Then the singing always went on, and they started an opera company. I auditioned, and became the lead soprano. We always met at night. So, I did that for about seven to eight years, and then it just didn't have enough money behind it. The arts are often not funded properly, so it kind of folded. I still taught, I always taught, because I had a feeling it might and I did not want to go all over the country singing here, there and everywhere. I like my home and I don't want to go. After that, I wanted something challenging. So I said, "I think I'll go to law school at night." Looking back, I don't know how I did it, but I did.
Leah Jones 15:01 How many years is law school when you're going at night? Is it still three years, or does it stretch out a little bit more?
Anita 15:08 It was four years. But I can take courses in the summer, which a lot of people can't. So, I actually graduated a semester early because of that, and then passed the bar. So, I just kind of move on that way; the things that I'm interested in, I want to learn about. That's how I did it. Also when I was in Rome, I wrote children's books, because I taught second grade, and then a combination of second and third. So, I would read to them what I'd written and let them illustrate it sometimes. It's kind of a natural progression. Then I decided, I'm not going to push my books till I graduate -- retire -- I consider that graduation.
Leah Jones 16:03 It is also graduation.
Anita 16:06 So when I retired, then I could focus on trying to get the books published.
Leah Jones 16:12 How many years were you teaching in Rome?
Anita 16:15 I was there five years.
Leah Jones 16:19 I've been to Rome, like for 24 hours. I spent a long weekend in Assisi -- I was living in London at the time -- and then met up with a co-worker in Rome. We went to four or five restaurants one night, and then the next day did a running tour of some highlights. Stopped by the Trevi Fountain, so I could throw a coin in so that I can return. I was like, "Okay, that's my insurance. I'll be back to Rome." When people are going to Rome, and maybe they're going for longer than 24 hours, what are some of the highlights that you think people should experience in Rome?
Anita 17:06 Rome -- you did a lot of it -- I love the markets, the fresh food markets. They had a giant flea market Sundays, and it's blocks long. That was my favorite place to go on Sunday. I would go down there and check everything out. They had very interesting bargains, which you don't usually get a bargain in Rome, it's very expensive. I enjoyed it, but Rome is very difficult to live in. It's just difficult.
Anita 17:47 I went to the bank to get money and they were having a strike. They said, "sorry, you can't come in, we're having a strike." I've never imagined a bank having a strike. So, you have to get used to all that and they close from one to four. Close right down and then dinner is supposed to be at eight, but I eat at six. On the weekends and Fridays, you can enjoy that. And they have opera. Of course, I sang in operettas and musicals there, too.
Leah Jones 18:25 Oh, how wonderful.
Anita 18:27 It was pretty cool; I really enjoyed it. And my philosophy is anyone who speaks English is my friend, until proven otherwise.
Leah Jones 18:38 Were you collecting -- collecting expats? Or is that also collecting Italian people who speak English or just anyone who spoke English?
Anita 18:47 Pretty much anyone who speaks English, I'm more than happy to talk to you and be your friend. Until you prove that I don't really want to be with you.
Leah Jones 18:59 Yeah.
Anita 19:01 I liked Rome, but I was also very, very glad to get back to the United States.
Leah Jones 19:08 Now, I previewed it a little bit. You know, on this podcast, I'd love to talk to people about their favorite thing, how they found it. And you mentioned that one of your favorite things is teaching little kids music. You've said that you've sung your whole life. Are you from a family of singers or when you were growing up in Venezuela, your parents, your grown-ups realized, "We got to get her in the choir." How did you start your singing career?
Anita 19:42 My father loves to sing music and he'd put the big records on -- operas, symphonies for us to go to sleep. So you always had that music in your head at night when you went to sleep, and it permeates, I think. I used to try to sing with the violins because a lot of symphonies don't -- they don't sing -- but I would try to sing with it higher, because I had a high voice, so I would sing with them. I always loved to sing. And they had choirs that I could be in and I started taking lessons right before I left, because the voice teacher said girls' voices also changed. Not as dramatically as boys, but he wanted to wait until my voice had started to change. He didn't want to hurt it, so I started at 16 with my voice lessons.
Leah Jones 20:51 Did those lessons continue when you moved back to the United States?
Anita 20:55 Yes. I still take voice lessons. Because it's a muscle, you got to keep it moving, to get the high notes and the low notes.
Leah Jones 21:10 Did you study music education in college, or you studied to become a teacher and singing was a minor, or a side project?
Anita 21:25 I majored in vocal music. I was in vocal performance. You get a degree and they also gave you the education, music education, so you would have a degree to teach music. Then I went back to get the -- I had extra courses to take to get certified. At the time, it was K-12 [grades] Music and K-8 -- teaching everything as a regular classroom teacher. Now, they make more distinctions, but that's what I did. Then I went to school psychology to understand the children's learning patterns. It really just fell into place. I think when you're free to do what you really want to do, you can follow your heart, and a lot of people don't do that. Maybe because they're too bogged down with children or whatever, I did not have children -- not because I didn't want them.
Leah Jones 22:39 My life has taken the same path -- I'm an Auntie -- my goal is to be essentially, if I could be Aunt Mame. She is one of my idols as far as being an aunt and being one of the grown-ups in the lives of my nephews and of my friends' kids. So, I totally get that. I also started my undergrad in music education, and I played the oboe.
Anita 23:13 Okay, that's hard.
Leah Jones 23:15 Yes. Very quickly, my freshman year, once I realized what getting a degree in oboe performance and music education really entailed, I changed my major. I realized that --once I got to school, and I saw that other people were so driven to practice and sing and truly do the all of the music theory, the piano lessons -- everything it takes to become a performance major in music education, I switched to chemistry. I needed something easier. Very different.
Leah Jones 24:06 At the same time, honestly, music and chemistry to me are not so different. Because music has so much math in it, you're constantly doing fractions. When you're sight reading music, it's math at some level, and the way that you're learning a whole new alphabet by learning to read music, and translate that into something that you can sing or play. And chemistry just has these -- if you don't know chemistry, you look at it and it's just these weird drawings of lines and letters, and it doesn't make any sense -- but it's kind of the same pattern-making that music can be. Music has more heart in it than chemistry, I'll give it that.
Anita 24:59 I took chemistry, but it wasn't my favorite thing, although my father had to -- he helped me with chemistry, but he also helped me with music theory. They are very much alike. Because I took music theory as a senior in high school, and it was a foreign language, it was just not making sense, and he helped me. After the first nine weeks, he said, "You're on your own. I don't have any more." But it clicked in by then.
Leah Jones 25:37 I don't know, it did not click in for me. I love the paper, I love that notebook of blank music paper, like just the staffs. There's something really wonderful about going into a classroom with that -- this is what you're taking notes on. I remember that, but I remember very little else that I learned.
Leah Jones 26:17 It also says in your bio, that you wrote musicals for the kids. When you're faced with a group of kindergarten/first grade -- when you're meeting with littles who have never been in a music class before -- how do you do it?
Anita 26:44 They're my students. I start from day one, and you teach -- through using music -- you teach the days of the week with music, you teach numbers with music. You can do anything if you can write a little bit of music -- just take a melody and put what you want to in it. I find that they learn well, if I'm teaching something, and get them sing a song that has it in it.
Anita 27:15 So, I'm always singing with them. I'm always reading books to them and always singing with them. And the musicals -- it's very easy if you know music theory, and you got some of it. Pretty simple, you know their range is not going to be huge, and you have to have a chorus. I always like to have choruses that have some kind of movement or clap, or snaps or something that's bouncy, because that's what they will remember and love. Then whatever else I'm doing, the verses are usually the science of whatever we're doing. I like looking up and making sure I've got the facts correct.
Anita 27:59 Then writing, you write the little poem first, and then the music just seems to come. Very simple, because I don't play the piano., it'd better be simple. And I played for them. I like to take a folk song, start with that, and then add my own. Like an introduction, cause they would sing up to 17 songs in a musical. And they learn it so fast; it's amazing how quickly they learn it. Usually little kids, they don't act -- they can act, but they have difficulty giving lines -- the timing.
Anita 28:40 So usually, everyone gets to be a narrator for one section little bit. They'll give you the science; for example, I did on a dinosaur musical of the fossil egg and they go back in time, and they're trying to figure out what kind of -- it hatches; they don't know what it is. So the different dinosaurs come and usually, it's however many kids you have. You have three or four of each kind of dinosaur, and they have their little song about the kind of dinosaur, and usually you have a dance to go with it. It's quite enjoyable to do for me.
Leah Jones 29:20 Oh, that's so fun.
Anita 29:22 And of course, they love it. And they love the rehearsals because "Oh, we're not doing reading today."
Leah Jones 29:31 [laughter] And then, you've tricked them; they've learned science at the end of their musical.
Anita 29:41 And it usually turns out really well, and the parents love it. I love it. They love it. It's a win-win situation.
Leah Jones 29:52 And then would you use the musicals from year to year?
Anita 29:58 Usually I would change them, because I feel it's like cheating. I always say, "I'm gonna use my brain now, I'm going to start writing different songs." But, I did several dinosaur ones just slightly different. And, I used some of the songs that I had before. Cheating.
Leah Jones 30:22 I don't think it's cheating to use the same lesson plan twice, I'll check.[laughter] Because I bet you must have students who grew up assuming everyone sang this musical about dinosaurs, and they've taught their kids the songs about dinosaurs. Then they're sitting around a dinner table with other parents of other first graders, nd they're like, "Wait, what do you mean, you don't know the dinosaur musical?" I am *certain* you had students that have come to that realization as an adult -- that your music wasn't what everybody did. And, that's so special.
Anita 31:08 I hope so. I do have some, they videoed them. You know the big ones that you stick it in.. And I need to get them put on CDs, but it's kind of fun to watch and remember. If I ever sit down and write everything out, I can use video to show whoever I'm trying to get to buy it, what it looks like when you do it.
Leah Jones 31:43 That's so fun. Because I have really fond memories; our elementary music teacher was Mrs. Connor. If you didn't have perfect pitch, she still got everyone to sing on key. There's no way I would have gotten to even trying to be a music major without having had come from an elementary school with music kind of everywhere.
Anita 32:12 I think you get an early start, because you love it. And then I guess you picked your instrument.
Leah Jones 32:21 Well, I started on saxophone in fifth grade. Our elementary school started -- in fourth grade, you could play trumpet or baritone. That's all you were allowed to play in fourth grade. And then, in fifth grade, you got to pick your instrument from the whole band or orchestra. I picked saxophone and then my sophomore year of high school -- so I played saxophone, my twin sister played flute our sophomore year of high school.
Leah Jones 32:58 Our band director came up to us and put a hand on each shoulder and said, "You girls are going to need scholarships to college, and I need an oboe player and a bassoon player, take your pick. These are instruments that will get you scholarships. And I need double reed players." So, my sister switched to bassoon and I switched to oboe. So it was fun to get to do jazz band and pep band on the saxophone, and then have oboe and get to do classical music.
Anita 33:32 So you did a lot of music.
Leah Jones 33:34 We did a lot of music. I hoped when I first started college -- because I was Drum Major in my high school marching band, and loved conducting. So, I harbored dreams of becoming the first female conductor of ______ major symphony orchestra. Leaving room for assuming lots of women would be getting into conducting. But there's no becoming a conductor without music theory, being able to play multiple instruments, you know. It takes a lot of education that I did not have in me to become a conductor. But it was wonderful; I'm so grateful for my the music education I had.
Anita 34:29 And, it is good for your brain, it really is. Well, we lost music for a while. It's cut their budget for schools drastically for a while and they never quite, as far as I know, they didn't quite get it back. Yeah, vocal music in the schools, but maybe they have bands now. But for a while, they didn't have instruments. That makes it -- they don't understand when you don't give a rounded education, then you're not really educating as far as I'm concerned.
Leah Jones 35:04 Right. I think people can be really short sighted about how they all help each other, you know, that learning to sight read, and being able to debate are not disconnected. That instant, instantaneous, being able to react and take in what's happening, they just all impact each other in different ways.
Anita 35:37 I couldn't convince them.
Leah Jones 35:42 It is hard to explain sometimes to the state budget board. You know, that even though I didn't get my degree in music, ultimately, it still is what formed me as a human being, and gave me other skills and supported other ways of learning. It is really hard to communicate all the soft, the intangibles of a music education.
Anita 36:10 Right. It's hard to explain.
Leah Jones 36:15 How were you able to experience music during the first couple years of COVID, when when performance was so limited?
Anita 36:29 My vocal coach, or voice teacher, we had a group that we decided, "We're a pod." And one person is an artist, she's the musician. Someone played the violin, there's a lot of, there were a lot of talented people that were together in this group that -- we met all the time. So we decided, we're gonna meet anyway. And we didn't wear masks, because you can't sing with a mask -- very difficult. And I can continue to take voice lessons. And I sit in a barbershop quartet, and chorus, which is very different than opera.
Anita 37:11 It's totally different, straight voice. They tried to do it over Zoom the chorus, you cannot --
Leah Jones 37:18 -- No, you cannot.
Anita 37:20 But they had a way of -- we would record, you'd hear the other parts, nd you'd record your part. Then they put them all together and synced them. So you know, when you have the different people all around singing, and then one voice will come out. That's what we did, we did two songs that way. So that kept me singing that song, and then getting it videoed.
Leah Jones 37:50 And talk about continuing to learn new skills.The technical skills that we all had to learn during pre-vaccine were significant. I helped my synagogue run services on Zoom, so I had to learn how to set it up, how to make it go to YouTube, how to gently interrupt the rabbi and say, "We can't actually hear you right now. Can you check your microphone?" And how to interrupt a service or a prayer to fix the tech for people at home. It was really something else.
Anita 38:37 Yeah, it's a learning curve. And people I think are better for it, in a way. According part, I don't know about the rest of it. But I was happy that I had a group of people that we met regularly, and none of us got COVID.
Leah Jones 39:00 Is that chamber music, kind of a part of chamber music? Or what types of music would you play when you were together?
Anita 39:08 We didn't necessarily play music. Like have a glass of wine and have a chat. One person was an artist, so we said, "Why don't you teach us art?" So we would come on another day, and we did a lot of artwork. So yeah, just keeping us busy during that time. I kind of long for it again, because I'm so busy now. I will say, "Gee, it would be nice just to have a few days where you have nothing to do." But you're never happy with what you have.
Leah Jones 39:45 It was a really -- this podcast is a COVID hobby. All of the sudden, I had 10 hours of commuting back, for starters. 10 hours a week. Then it was just all those nights that I used to be out with friends or at musicals, going to Broadway shows in Chicago or it just all came to a screeching halt. And I was like, "What am I going to do with this extra time? I'm going to talk to strangers on Zoom."
Anita 40:29 Yeah, that's great.
Leah Jones 40:31 So you said you started working on the book, after you retire -- or that retirement was when you were going to really get to work on your stories and start bringing them out into the world. I'm curious how much of this book did you work on during the shutdown, or was it with the publisher before?
Anita 40:54 It was with the publisher before. In fact, it was supposed to come out, qnd everything shut down, even the publisher?
Leah Jones 41:01 Wow. You have been waiting for May 24th for quite some time.
Anita 41:08 Right. Right. Long, long time. I was getting really kind of annoyed. But what are you donna do? Like, I want to write others.
Leah Jones 41:23 Pick more colors. In your retirement, are you finding ways to teach kids music? Are you enjoying other ways of making music in the world?
Anita 41:38 I don't teach children anymore, and I left that behind. I did love it when I did it. Now singing in a quartet is enjoyable for me, perfecting it. Then, we do our own concert. Then, the actual chorus; I enjoy it too. So I get that part in, and then I still take voice lessons, and do solos here and there.
Leah Jones 42:16 Yeah. Are you organizing recitals with other local performers?
Anita 42:21 That, I have not done. I thought about doing it with having my quartet sing some, then I could sing solo, and maybe have another group. But, I never put it together. I think about things and then I don't necessarily do them; somebody else needs to do that.
Leah Jones 42:44 While we're putting it out into the universe, through the podcast, that people can catch up with you to organize a night of music.
Anita 42:55 Yeah. That'd be fun.
Leah Jones 42:59 Is there anything about teaching music -- using music to teach kids -- that I haven't asked you about that if we hung up without you saying it, you would be so sad I didn't ask you?
Anita 43:16 No, not music. You understand music, so you're able to ask really good questions. The one thing I would say about reading books -- I love to read books to the children. It takes a while -- you actually have to make them sit, at first. They're like, "Wow, who wants to sit here and watch, have her read to us?" And by the end of the second month, I would say, they adore it. They're beginning to use their own imagination. Of course, you do show the pictures. I'd say okay, "We're going to do a story," and they all know where they're going, and they're all happy, so it was a good break. Little kids need to move every about every 15 minutes, I find.
Leah Jones 44:12 You gotta get the wiggles out.
Anita 44:14 Yeah, they have to -- they're little.
Leah Jones 44:18 My mom was a middle school art teacher.
Anita 44:22 Oh, bless her.
Leah Jones 44:24 She started with a K through eight Indiana license, and then taught some elementary and then wound up in a middle school, and then got the art class. She went from sixth grade science to middle school art. She my dad met in art school, and then you know, when you're starting teaching, you take what you get you. So, she wound up a science teacher, a science and math teacher, which gave her a lot of empathy for the kids who were who struggled with math, because she didn't identify as a math person. Or she doesn't identify as a math person. But once she became an art teacher, and she would still read to the kids, chapter books and kids love being read to.
Anita 45:19 They do. And it stimulates the imagination, and if you're trying to get them to paint something, it's excellent way to do it.
Leah Jones 45:32 She still reads books. She's always still vetting books, even though she's also retired. She's still constantly vetting books that middle schoolers should read.
Anita 45:46 That's good. Middle school is a tough age.
Leah Jones 45:53 Yes, it is; I do not miss it.
Anita 45:56 I liked being in middle school, and I didn't like teachingit.
Leah Jones 46:04 I had an outstanding band teacher, so I got to even do jazz band in middle school, which was great and great art classes. So those were two things about middle school that were good for me, but I don't need the rest of it. The book, "Clark, the Colorblind Chameleon" comes out May 24th. It'll be available -- Target, Walmart, Bor -- no, Barnes and Noble; Borders is no longer with us. And Amazon, so people can pre-order it now; pre-orders are always helpful. And librarians can get it ordered for their fall semester, plenty of time to get it ordered for fall semester. Do you have a website, or do you use Twitter? Is there anywhere online that you'd like people to find you?
Anita 46:57 No, I'm going to have to do that. That's my next project.
Leah Jones 47:03 As you get those set up, I will put those links in the show notes as well with the podcast.
Anita 47:08 Oh, good.
Leah Jones 47:11 Well, Anita, it has been wonderful talking to you.
Anita 47:14 I've enjoyed talking to you.
Leah Jones 47:17 Good luck with the book launch. What an exciting time, having your first book come out and it looks so beautiful. I can't wait to see it.
Anita 47:25 I hope it does well. So, thank you.
Announcer 47:30 Thank you. Thank you for listening to Finding Favorites with Leah Jones. Please make sure to subscribe and drop us a five-star review on iTunes. Now go out, and enjoy your favorite things.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai
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