I always loved the first day of school. It was my chance to see my friends again and find out what they did over the summer. I also met my teacher for the year ahead, sometimes a happy experience, sometimes not.
I had some great teachers, but it's the two scary ones in first and third grade who inspired the character Mrs. Cakel in my new book Danny's Doodles: The Jelly Bean Experiment. Danny says of her, "Her name is pronounced like cake with an added L at the end, but she's no sweet dessert." He's right. She's not sweet, but she's lots of fun to read about. She has lots of rules and Danny's neighbor, classmate, and newfound friend Calvin Waffle doesn't like any of them. What Calvin does like is to sneakily defy Mrs. Cakel, experiment with jelly beans, and read people. Danny tells this weird and funny story and draws the many doodles that illustrate it.
I had a great time writing Danny's Doodles. I hated to leave Danny and Calvin when I finished writing the story. But that's okay. Now, I'm back with Danny and Calvin and working on the next Danny's Doodles.
My school experiences both as a student and as a teacher – I taught math for nine years – have given me lots of story ideas, lots of my Cam Jansen Mysteries take place in school. If you think it's not easy to sit in class all day as a student, just imagine what it must be like for your teacher, what it was like for me. Look in a mirror. Now imagine there are thirty of you looking back Scary, huh, and fun! In my stories I get to relive my fun, sometimes scary days in school.
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