A Longmont children’s author has won two recent awards for her debut picture book, which was published in October 2022.
The book, which was written for children ages 4 to 7, “does an extraordinary job of capturing nature’s splendor and impressing upon young readers the interconnectedness of all living things,” the Tillywig award description read. “The artwork is nothing short of dazzling, as is the way each new page’s words and images build on those introduced earlier.”
Illustrated by Evelline Andrya, the picture book uses rhythm and repetition to teach children about the importance of the sun and nature.
Everett said she’s proud of the awards.
“I was honored — I was kind of surprised and speechless,” she said.
Everett moved to Longmont four years ago after spending 16 years teaching math to students in elementary school, middle school and high school in Maryland. She then taught aspiring math teachers in college.
Her background as a teacher helped her understand how quality books are shared within schools, and how receiving book awards can help with that promotion.
“This I feel like is another way to get it out there — so that more people are aware of it and want to read it, which is what my main goal was — to get it into the hands of parents and teachers and educators and children,” she said.
Everett said her 5-year-old son Jalen, who loves interactive reading, inspired her to become an author.
“I wasn’t finding a lot of math picture books out there — outside of basic counting,” she explained. “I kind of took that as an opportunity and I started making my own little things at home.”
Everett’s first concept for “This is the Sun” included pattern blocks — flat, colorful pieces that teach children about shapes, geometry and spatial reasoning.
“The book actually had — when I presented the manuscript to the publisher — it actually had pattern blocks built in, but through the editing process, it didn’t make it into the final cut,” she explained. “Which, they are the experts when it comes to publishing — I totally trusted whatever they thought was best.”
Children still have the opportunity to interact with the book in guessing what is going to come next, and looking for animals that are hidden in the illustrations.
“You can find them — so, ‘the lizard ate the bug, where’s the bug?’ and then ‘the snake came along and ate the lizard, where’s the lizard?’” she said. “At the very end, you can see all the animals — the entire food chain.”
Everett has already written her next book, “Twinkle, Twinkle, Daytime Star,” which is set to be published in February. Named for one of her son’s favorite songs, the book features facts about the sun and how it helps life on Earth. The author is also slated to publish a math manuscript, “Spheres All Year,” in June.
“As a former educator I’m always kind of looking for that teachable moment,” Everett said. “Any book we pick up from the library or bookstore, I feel like there’s something to be taught from there — whether it’s the importance of being kind, or math, science or social skills.”
Everett is hosting a Family Storytime at 10 a.m. Jan. 20 in the Longmont Public Library.