Prudence Williams loves children, words, reading, and writing. She is a 27 yr. veteran teacher who has been writing most of her life. She recently married and met her new family pet, Ruby, and was inspired to write a children's book based on this loveable dog. She is proud and excited to release her children’s book: Ruby Smiles.
Ruby Smiles details a day in the life of Mr. Shipman's dog, Ruby. Ruby is an big, energetic, black mutt who loves to smile, eat, play, and sleep. Illustrator, Patrick Carlson’s, art brings the 139 pound Ruby to life, and young readers will love seeing Ruby barrell through the backdoor, trample across the lawn, and romp all over the yard! Williams’ writing will captivate young minds, and watching Ruby wake up her favorite person in the world, Mr. Shipman, will tickle them, as will Ruby's bubbling enthusiasm.
How did Prudence Williams come to love words, reading, and writing? Well it started with a bad grade and a good mom! In second grade, Prudence brought home a failing grade in reading. Her mom, Hazel Williams, was an English teacher and did not like hearing her daughter was reading well below grade level. So a reading success plan was devised and seven year old Prudence was placed in Reading and Writing Boot Camp.
"You are your kids’ biggest fan,” Williams states, laughing about her mother guerilla tactics to promote strong reading and writing skills. Included in Reading and Writing Boot Camp was daily oral reading time. Hazel sat Prudence down with a book and had a Prudence read aloud for 30 minutes every night. With her back to her mom, facing to the wall, Prudence was encouraged to sound out words and pace herself.
“She wouldn’t help me with the words I didn’t read well. I had to go through a productive struggle.” A key part of the struggle, said Williams, is interest. She was given a book about the Civil Right Movement and Martin Luther King. At first, she resisted, but the book was good and soon Prudence looked forward to reading and asked to read beyond the 30 minute assigned time. “By Chapter 2, I was like, ‘Can I keep going?” And soon, she was reading silently and independently.
In addition to reading, Williams’ mom sought to instill a true love for writing in her daughter, and she did.
“I still have all my journals from back then. Each day, I was given a simple prompt to write about, like what's your favorite meal and why? I was made to write for 15 minutes about that prompt. Then to read it silently. It was private. As long as I was writing, my mom didn't care what I wrote. It helped my penmanship; it helped me think; it helped my spelling; it helped me become more creative about words. Sometimes the prompt would be as simple as find 10 ways to say something's funny without using the word funny. I had a dictionary and a thesaurus, so I learned to use them too. Sometimes the prompt was more reflective, like write all the things that made you mad today, and what you did about them, and what you should have done about them. Now that one I still use today! At the end of it, I was proud of what I’d written and many times I did share my writings with my mom."
And with just a little effort, Hazel’s Reading and Writing Boot Camp was a success! By age eight, Prudence was an avid reader and a girl eager to journal everything. And she hasn’t stopped since! Reading is one of Prudence's biggest past time and writing, the other!
Her love of children, words, reading, and Ruby combine in Ruby Smiles. The lead character of the book, Ruby, is delightful. To Mr. Shipman and his sons, she is the guardian and protector of the Shipman domicile. To her feline roommate,Cat, she’s a watchful, yet weary older sister. To Prudence's grandson, Jahari, she's a big ole ball of fun! To Prudence, Ruby is the Canine Queen in Charge of Everything! The Shipman's have been married for about 2 years and when Prudence moved in, she says“I had to get used to living under Ruby's roof, not the other way around.”
Ruby is gentle and mild. She rarely barks and likes nothing better than to sit quietly watching TV with the family. But don't let that fool you. She has a huge personality and uses that personality to get as many snacks and chin tickles as she can. And there are many lessons a protective, sassy, and occasionally overeating dog can help kids learn. Williams plans to move from Ruby Smiles to a series that parent can use to help children learn simple lessons. The lesson is Ruby Smiles is Do Your Job! Everyday, Ruby has tasks she must do. She has to wake Mr. Shipman up, guard the yard, guard the house, and go to bed on time. It's big work, and it's important work. And Ruby does her job!
Williams plans to explore Ruby's bathing habits in the next Ruby installment. Because like many little children, Ruby hates taking a bath, and she can get kinda smelly! But as most parent will point out, bathing is necessary! "I think I want to use Ruby as a positive example of how to be a good family member. How to take correction and be loving. How one person can make the whole family better!"
Williams also plans on addressing new additions to the family. When asked about her idea, Williams pointed to Ruby, noting her sweet but often disgruntled nature. "She loves my sons and lights up when she see them, but after a while, she just wants to be left alone so she can get back to her nap.... unless you have a tasty treat on hand." When Williams' grandson, Jahari, was born, Ruby adjusted. She really was uncomfortable with the baby at first, and would leave the room when he cried, but as the time passed she got used to him and has become very protective of him. Williams laughs, "Jahari LOVES her. But sometimes, two-year olds are a lot," Williams' remarked. "Jarhari has had to learn to not pull her hair and to pat rather than hit... and through it all, Ruby just gives us the look, as if she's saying, 'please get your child', but she would never hurt him or let anyone else hurt him. She just doesn’t understand why he's so small and clumsy." But Ruby has her ways of keeping the two-year old in line too. "Sometimes Jahari will walk over and hug Ruby and pat her just a little to hard, and Ruby will walk away and accidentally (on purpose), swat Jahari with her tail, which makes Jahari laugh and Ruby smile." He's still got a lot of learning to do and Ruby is just the girl to teach him!