Kids View: Local Children’s Author Amy Phillips Grips Kid’s Attention with a Unique Character

Kids View: Local Children’s Author Amy Phillips Grips Kid’s Attention with a Unique Character
By Brandilyn Mitchell

The Ripon Farmers Market is *the market* to bring your kids to. Not only because of the huge grassy area for them to play tag, ball, gymnastics or what have you-but the story time area, the Montessori kitchen, the fairy garden-they’re all exciting things for your kids to do while you eat your wares from shopping.

During one of the recent story times, Amy Phillips was the guest author. She has been an educator for over 17 years and has taught preschool, kindergarten, first and second grade. Currently, she is a high school assistant principal for an online charter school. It was while working with this age group, that she saw the importance in teaching young children about how to be kind and not biased or prejudiced, and started writing children’s books.

Amy read her books, “Harry the Hairless Cat” and “Harry’s Clean Up Day” to over a dozen children, eager to hear about this strange “naked cat”. The stories are silly but with good life lessons hidden in the rhymes. Lessons like accepting others who may be different, building self-esteem, and helping our friends and community. With so many cat breeds represented, I am sure your child will connect with these books. I guarantee they’ve seen most of them and will recognize them and say things like “That’s just like Auntie’s cat Oreo!” or “She looks like Pappa’s cat Molly!”.

Reading to your kids is so important-not just for the educational aspect of letter recognition, learning sight words or phonics, but the VERY important aspect of connecting with your child. Giving them that one-on-one time every night to bond with you and build lasting memories is irreplaceable and priceless. I highly suggest adding these sweet books to your collection and making them a part of your bedtime story library. You can buy her books on Amazon. Or if you’re local to Ripon you can find them at Sheboba’s Tea and Austin’s Coffee.

ModestoView: Hi Amy! Thanks for taking time out to talk to ModestoView about your books. Please tell us about your beloved character Harry! 
Amy Phillips: Harry is an indoor cat that discovers there is a big exciting world outside to explore. Once outside, he meets other cats and realizes that he’s different. It doesn’t take him long to realize that he is being judged by how he looks and that by being himself, a kind and helpful cat, that other cats will see he’s not so different from them. Harry teaches others how to be kind to others in the first book and then how to be kind to our earth in the second one.

MV: Did you always want to be a children’s author, or did something pull at you as an adult to get these stories out?
AP: Yes, I have always wanted to be a children’s book author, but I never had a compelling story to tell until now. Harry came to me when I was visiting a friend who had just gotten a Sphynx cat. Being a cat lover myself, I was interested in meeting this very unique cat! At the same time, I was also not very eager to pet it or actually engage with it because of how it looked and how I perceived it to feel-not soft and fluffy! I realized soon after that I had a bias toward these cats and I didn’t even give them a chance! I kept my distance and sadly, was not very friendly to Mike, the Sphynx cat. It didn’t take me long to see how this translated to our current state of our world, where bias and prejudice are at the forefront of many of our problems today. That is how Harry’s story came to be!

MV: Your rhyming scheme is awesome, as a result it’s really fun to read these stories. We have such an enjoyable time reading your books, and my daughter has learned new words. Was that something you were aiming for, or was it happenstance as you wrote them?
AP: I have written rhyming poems at various times in my life. It’s come easily for me. Children’s books with a rhyming cadence always caught my attention and have been a foundation in primary classrooms for years. My favorite thing about teaching the younger children is teaching them to read. Rhyming is a very important part of learning how to read, so I intentionally wrote books that rhymed. 

MV: What is your favorite breed of cat?
AP: I do not necessarily have a favorite breed of cat, but of the ones I’ve owned in my lifetime, the tabby cat is one I am fond of. Sphynx cats also have a special place in my heart! (Wink, wink!)

MV: Do you have any more stories you feel compelled to share with children that we may hope to read soon?
AP: I am working on a third book in the Harry series. I hope to have it come out by the end of the year.

Amy will be back at the Ripon Farmers Market on July 13th and August 10th from 6pm – 8pm at the teepee near the garden (see photo above). Come out for story time, and snag the special market sale of both books for $15, and she will gladly autograph them for your Little!

Lastly, if you have a child from age 1 day to 5 years old, please sign them up for the Imagination Library. Sponsored & created by Dolly Parton, this non-profit gives each child one book every month until they are five years old. Great books like, “The Little Engine That Could”, “The Rabbit Listened” and “There’s a Monster In Your Book”. It is free to sign up, and the requirement is not based on anything other than your child’s age. Sign up here.

Follow Amy on her Insta (“author_amyphillips”) or Facebook (“Author Amy Phillips”) to keep up with book signings, story time readings and more!

About the Author:

Bring on the rain, and a bottle of Wonky & Wry's Honey Braggot Ale. Loves to roast marshmallows over a fire.