I'm finally sitting down and typing the keyboard as the last few months were a whirlwind. I am in the middle of transitioning to Colorado residence! Last April was an eventful month for Zoey Goes, and I wanted to share what we did. I am grateful for the opportunity to make some appearances, meet new people and see stories about signing books to children. There is nothing like watching LIVE what a book narrated in THEIR language does to Deaf children.
I was invited by the Rocky Mountain Deaf School to man a Zoey Goes booth on their Career Day for middle and high school students. It was an opportunity for the students to see what kind of careers Deaf people were pursuing. A range of professionals such as chef, computer engineer, and real estate agent were there. The students rotated between booths asking professionals questions about their career. I shared what it was like to be an author and producer of e-books, and the fact that I started from scratch. Most students were surprised by how relatively easy it is to produce books; it is just a matter of doing it and being willing to learn from mistakes. I also discussed how today's technology has made it easier for people to self-publish compared to the traditional path of getting a book published. I learned that the school has the iBook Author program in their computers, so hopefully I've inspired the students to produce their own e-books!
Next, I made an appearance with a booth at an Informational Fair at my friend's local elementary in Denver. I met with Deaf students and their families who came to obtain resources for their children. Many parents were thrilled and relieved to see an e-book narrated in American Sign Language. The highlight of this event was a girl, apparently a book worm, who came to my table and immediately read and watched the book page by page. It was wonderful seeing her completely engrossed in "Zoey Goes to the Dog Park"!
In the same week, the Sequoia School for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing in Mesa, AZ invited me to a video conference call with their middle and high school students. It was neat to connect with the students via video call and chat with them about Zoey Goes. I gave a short presentation about how I started Zoey Goes and my educational background, then it was Q&A with the students. Some asked good questions such as how long it took me to produce a book and how I was able to hire a Deaf artist. An overall good turnout!
Then, I traveled to Bay Area, California to attend two events. First, I went to Deaf Counseling, Advocacy and Referral Agency's Club Saturday event. This event was revolved around Zoey Goes and put together by amazing staff! I made a presentation about Deaf dogs and showed the first book. It was then followed by an art activity in which the children made colorful Zoey masks! There were many families from all walks of life with their kids age ranging from 1-8 years old. It was a positive atmosphere, and many parents were jumping with joy to have an e-book accessible in American Sign Language. I surprised them by bringing Winston, and the kids went gaga over it! It was fun to see them make a connection between Winston as a character in the book and real life Winston.
Finally, I visited California School for the Deaf in Fremont. The librarian greeted me and gave me a tour of the impressionable campus before I made a presentation. I presented twice, first to pre-kindergarten to 1st grade students in the morning, and then to 2nd grade-4th grade students in the afternoon. It was so fun meeting so many students and having them ask thoughtful questions about Deaf dogs. The timing couldn't be have been better. Many were familiar about Deaf dogs because of an educational project they were doing involving training Deaf and hearing dogs. I gave them a sneak preview of the second book, "Zoey Goes Camping". Many were excited about this book as most love camping and were on their way to camping that weekend. I stopped in the middle of the book where something happens to Zoey, and the students had fun guessing the next scene!
One thing I learned from these events is making a LIVE appearance does make a big difference as opposed to advertising the book via social media. I plan to make more live appearances this year, and if you are interested in booking an appearance with me, please contact me via email@example.com.