Fallon Kaczka, a kindergarten teacher at Public School No. 3 who is involved in the early childhood program, had a life long dream to write and publish a children’s book – a dream that came true this month with the publication of “What About Oysters?” through a self-publishing company called Author House.
Kaczka said she started writing and illustrating her book about two years ago. Her goal was to use the story as a vehicle to show children that no matter how small they are, they are still capable of accomplishing great things.
She said when kids are asked to name ocean animals or sea creatures, they most commonly come up with sharks, fishes or whales, and often overlook the smaller creatures – such as the main character of this story, the oyster.
“The oyster doesn’t look like much, but it can make a pearl,” she said.
“The oyster doesn’t look like much, but it can make a pearl.” – Fallon Kaczka
A native of Bayonne, Kaczka attended St. Andrew’s Elementary School and Holy Family Academy. Even as she dedicated herself to teaching, she said she always had an interest in art in high school and college.
She attended NJCU, specializing in early childhood education. During one course about teaching children’s literature, she was asked to write a children’s book.
“The professor told me to stick with it and that I had a talent for it,” she said.
For this book, she decided to write a new story and to do her own illustration, and worked at home during the summer.
She was almost discouraged at the cost of self publishing, until she realized that the price included having an illustrator.
“When I told them I was doing my own illustrations, the price came down,” she said.
She said the story is about an oyster, who gets upset about the fact that the larger creatures, such as the shark, are getting all the attention.
The story took her 25 minutes to write.
“I love to rhyme,” she said.
She got advice from the art teacher at Robinson School, Brian Belton, who advised her on what materials to use, such as illustration boards and water colors.
She said she showed the art to her students and read the story to them.
“I asked them what an author is, and they told me, ‘An author writers books, and an illustrator does pictures,’ ” she said.
But she said her kids did not mentally put everything together until the book was printed.
“Light bulbs went off in their heads,” she said.
She hopes other teachers will use the book in their classes.
The book will be available at Unique Books on Broadway in Bayonne, as well as on-line.
Al Sullivan may be reached at email@example.com.