by Ardeana Hamlin
of The Weekly Staff
BANGOR, Maine — When Amanda Morin, 39, of Bangor was growing up, her grandmother liked to say, “I know there’s a book in you.”
“When I was a child I wanted to be a writer, but I didn’t know what kind and I never thought I about writing books,” Morin said.
As it turns out, Morin’s grandmother was right. Morin now is the author of “The Everything Kids Learning Activities Book,” released by Adams Media this summer. The book contains activities and games of learning parents can share with their children. “All the activities in the book either use materials you already have around the house or don’t use materials at all,” Morin said. “Learning is about exploring.”
Morin draws on her training and experience as a teacher to discuss five key learning areas in the first chapter of her book, including discussing the parent’s role in making reading an activity children enjoy.
Morin is graduate of Bangor High School and the University of Maine where she studied elementary education and went on to teach kindergarten at The Hilltop School and at Abraham Lincoln School in Bangor. She also worked for Child Development services doing case management, parent education and early intervention. “I loved teaching,” she said.
Then came a period of time when Morin and her family moved to Augusta, then back to Bangor. “I needed a job,” she said, “but I wanted to write.” Her husband was supportive of the idea and told her “to just do it.” That was eight years ago.
So, Morin sat down at her laptop and contacted education.com, laying out her credentials and interests, and she began writing for the website. “From there I kept reaching out and writing, including technical writing,” she said. Currently, she writes for about.com and the “mom section” at popsugar.com. She also gets requests from companies to review their educational apps.
But she didn’t have to reach out to anyone when it came to writing her book. “Adams Media contacted me and asked me to write a book,” she said. But there was one little catch — she had to have it completed in 11 weeks. She met the deadline, despite the fact that she is a wife and the mother of three children ages 17, 11 and 3. “Being a mom,” she said, “feeds what I do. Being a mom taught me how kids learn. I want parents to know they are teachers.” Her business card bears the line, Educating parents, one word at a time.
“It’s a baffling trajectory in some ways,” Morin said of the path her life has taken. “Things just keep expanding.” She also is excited about the fact that she has found a way to combine her love of teaching with her love of writing. “I see myself as educating parents [through her writing and her book, in particular], giving parents skills to teach their children. I really believe in this book — parents and caregivers need ways to incorporate learning into everyday life.”
Morin said that now she has become an author, she looks at books differently, as more than just pages between two covers. “Every book has a person behind it,” she said. “It’s a blessing to have that perspective. I’m still amazed that I wrote all those words. I never expected that this is what I’d be doing today.”
Morin will give book talks at 10 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 24, at The Briar Patch in Bangor; 1 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 24, at Barnes and Noble in Augusta, 1 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 31, at Books-A-Million in Bangor; and 1 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 1, at Books-A-Million in Portland.
For information, go to learningtreehouse.com or everythingkidslearning.com where Morin posts a blog titled “Let’s Talk Learning.”