Consultant for Usborne Books and More
Kelly’s VIP Book Club (Facebook Page)
“With a dreamy far off look, and her nose stuck in a book…” Belle from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast
This quote perfectly melds two of my greatest past times, musical theatre and reading! Both have the ability to stir something with our souls and leave us breathless. They immerse us into different time periods and worlds beyond our own. Many books have been the inspiration for some of the most captivating musicals; Les Miserable, Phantom of the Opera, Oklahoma, Wicked and Cabaret– just to name a few.
From a very early age, books were able to transport me, as Belle would say, to “far-off places, daring sword fights, magic spells, [and] a prince in disguise.” I think my love of the characters on the page is partly why I fell in love with the stage. While I have played many characters on stage, from Little Red Riding Hood to Juliet, I hold very dear the roles of wife, mom and choir/drama director. I am so fortunate that because of my career as a choir and drama director, it is my job to help create new worlds for students through song and theater. This also means there is rarely a time I am not reading a new script, book or research on directing. I truly believe that because both my kids have always seen me reading, learning and growing in my craft, it has helped mold them into children who love to read (my husband also reads frequently, though our bookshelves look very different. I don’t believe there are any composers out there looking to turn Fight Club into a musical anytime soon!)
Recently, I felt like there was a little voice saying “I wish” (imagine the opening song of Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods! If you don’t know it, definitely take a listen.) As if I wasn’t busy enough running a middle school choral program, directing an annual spring musical and helping my children spread their own wings in soccer, dance, karate etc., I felt like I needed something fresh and new for me to dive into, ya know, just for fun. At the same time, I was invited to an online book party by a friend. One of the posts was “Do you want to earn free books and host your own party?” Of course! Like I said before, both my children love to read and they are constantly looking for a new read. It was perfect timing because one of our traditions is the kids getting a new “summer reading” book on the last day of school. So, I hosted my own party. I genuinely had a blast. I poured over the pages upon pages of books on the website. I chatted with my guests about why I thought this activity book or that series would be a hit with my kids. It made me giddy talking to other people about how much I love to read, how much it meant for me to read to me kids when they were little and to watch my kids growing in what they were reading! Afterwards, the consultant, who had thrown the party, reached out to me and mentioned I was really good at suggesting books for my guests. She said I seemed to have a knack for pumping people up for what the books had to offer. She asked if I’d be interested in joining her team. My first reaction was “no, I couldn’t possibly add that to my plate right now…” OR, was this what I had been looking for? (Gosh, I can’t decide which is more fitting, “I’m not throwing away my shot” from Hamilton or “Seize the Day” from Newsies!)
My husband and kids were super supportive and I jumped in head first. The first week of August, I became a book consultant for Usborne Books and More. Since then, I have done online parties, baby showers and vendor events. I have met incredible people who have the same passion for literacy as I do and families who want quality materials for their readers. My new “job” has been great for our family in many ways. It is flexible. I determine how often and when parties happen. It has created a new bond with my own children. They have helped with parties, given age level suggestions and, most recently, have created a Story Time Live with me 2 days a week. It helps financially. Not only do my children benefit with free books that I earn but also the percentage I make from parties helps to offset unexpected costs (our refrigerator breaking) or gets stashed away for vacations.
Usborne Books span the ages of itty-bitty’s to middle school. The variety of topics is never-ending. Does your tween/teen prefer comic books over long chapter reading? Check out any of our classic stories turned graphic novels such as “King Arthur”. Have a toddler who isn’t reading yet but loves bright colored pictures? Any of our finger trail or busy books are perfect. Have a kiddo who gets anxious or nervous? Workbooks like “Stay Strong” and “No Worries” have been collaborated with child psychologists to help ease fear and learn how to express feelings. By 4th grade, some statistics show, students only have a 54% interest in reading outside of school. By 8th grade, that drops to 30%. I want to be a part of the revolution to help our children not only learn to read, but to continue finding books that hold their interests and encourages them to desire more!
I am here for all your book needs. Whether that is just a book here and there for special occasions, hosting a party with me so you can earn free books, or you want to take the leap with me and become a consultant, I am here for you!
“The future of our world depends on the education of our children. We deliver educational excellence one book at a time. We provide economic opportunity while fostering strong family values. We touch the lives of children for a lifetime.” Usborne Books and More’s mission statement reminds me of the song “A Million Dreams” from The Greatest Showman. “Every night I lie in bed, the brightest colors fill my head. A million dreams are keeping me awake. I think of what the world could be, a vision of the world I see. A million dreams is all it’s gonna take. A million dreams for the world we’re gonna make.” I want to awaken those dreams by getting books in the hands of our youth that might motivate them to become an architect, a scientist, an artist, a playwright, composer or author for the next generation to get their nose stuck in a book.