Interview with Author Amanda Cottrell – Ramona Portelli Blog

Interview with Author Amanda Cottrell

Amanda Cottrell is an educator of young children for over 12 years.  Her passion is education and creativity. She believes that everyone has creative capacities. Her mission is to empower children through their unique creative gifts. Helping children believe in themselves through connection, is the aim of her books.

Amanda began writing children’s books to enhance the written curriculum and the unwritten curriculum in elementary school. Through years of experience she noticed that children need support in expressing themselves and in mindful ways.

A yoga and mindfulness enthusiast, she uses her knowledge of yoga and mindful practices to guide her stories and get kids up and moving while or to connect to themselves on a deeper level.

Teaching is not just about guiding the students but also about learning along with them. Amanda believes in lifelong learning and is continuously taking courses in different areas of interest.

Believe, Create, Inspire! She is a woman who wears many hats with a B.A in Political Science, B.Ed in elementary education, M.Ed specializing in creativity and technology, Reiki master, yoga for young children instructor, artist, mom, author, illustrator and teacher. She also runs a small arts based business teaching art workshops.

Tell me more about your latest book

My latest book was released at the beginning of September 2020. It is called, “What do you learn at school?” I wrote this book after coming home from a fairly stressful day teaching a few years ago. There were two good boys in my class who were arguing constantly and not being very kind to each other. I was frustrated with how they had been treating each other and I wanted a resource to help them understand that people remember how you treat them and how you make them feel more than they will remember anything else. The book looks at many aspects of school. So aspects people love and others hate. Some love to draw while others cannot draw a stickman. It teaches kids that it is okay to not like everything you have to learn at school, the purpose of school is to introduce students to a variety of topics and experiences in hope that they find one area that they love. It also talks about the unwritten curriculum where school teaches kids how to collaborate, think outside the box, build meaningful friendships and be kind to people they may not actually get a long with. The biggest lesson of the books is not about the content taught in school but how the teachers and peers make you feel. It questions students to consider what they will remember about school in 20 years. There are also bonus teaching ideas at the end of the book. 

What was the most challenging aspect of writing this book?

The most challenging aspect of any of my books is finding the time to sit and illustrate them. I write and illustrate all of my books. I have coauthored 2 books and the part that takes the longest and is the most time consuming is the illustrating. Finding the time to illustrate is a challenge because I am also a single mom and full time teacher. So you will find me sketching while sitting at soccer or piano practice while I wait for my daughter. The other time I tend to draw is after my daughter goes to bed so it takes quite a while to complete the illustrations for each book. 

What is your normal procedure to get your books published?

The first book that I ever wrote was just going to be a book I created for my classroom. I had written the book after a meditation at a retreat and knew I wanted to use it in my classroom. It took me almost 4 years to complete the illustrations for the book. Once I completed the illustrations a friend tagged me in a Facebook post for a lady who was looking for an illustrator. I started following her on Instagram and learned she was a former Kindergarten teacher who self published a book and was now selling over 100 books a day on Amazon. So I connected with her and started taking courses to learn how to self publish and why she had chosen the path of self publishing. She can self publish much faster than me as she hires an illustrator. However this has really become a passion project for me and in 4 years I have published 8 children’s books. 

What motivated you to become an author?

All of my books come from me wanting to teach something in my classroom and I cannot find the resource I really want to teach the concept I am aiming for. I also am very passionate about yoga and mindfulness and bringing these practices into the classroom in a meaningful way that is connected to the curricular outcomes in health and physical education. 

How many books have you written so far?

I have written/ coauthored 8 in total (2 are co-authored) 

They are: 

It is okay to feel

I am Fearless! A Yoga Story for Kids and Superheroes (coauthored with Apryl Dawn)

I am a Rainbow! A Children’s Guide to the Chakras (coauthored with Sarah Smid)

I am Empathetic! Helping Kids Understand Empathy

Divorce is a D-word! Sometimes Two Separate Homes and Better Than One

A Yoga Journey Through India

A Yoga Journey Through Peru

What Do you Learn At School?

As an author, do you prefer the traditional book or online version? Why?

As and author and teacher I prefer to have the actual book in my hands to read to the class. There is also something about curling up with a book and reading a story aloud to kids that is just so much better in the traditional form. 

How hard or easy is it to establish and maintain a career in writing?

My writing is my passion project. I would love for my passion project to become more full time. However, I also love to teach and see myself as always teaching in some capacity. My writing career ties in nicely to my teaching career they compliment each other very well. 

What is your advice for aspiring writers?

My advice for writers is to just start! Even if you only have 20 minutes a day and are scribbling down your ideas in a journal while taking the bus home or sitting waiting for your child to finish soccer practice. If it is something you truly want to do you will find the time. Take your iPad or computer or journal with you on the way to the ski hill and nerd out writing in the back seat, you have the time you just have to find the pockets. Also, it does not have to be perfect. Nothing is actually ever perfect. So 

Visit Author Amanda Cottrell book links:-

All of her links to her books are on her website and they link directly to purchase on Amazon 

www.artmindfulnessandcreativity.com  

Facebook: www.facebook.com/artmindfulnessandcreativity

Instagram: www.instagram.com/artmindfulnessandcreativity

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