Finn the Hero series coming next year!


Illustrator Adam Clark

I can’t believe I forgot to write about this here. I am so excited to announce that I will be publishing another series with Distinguished Press next year!

Some time back, I wrote the text to a series of three pattern books for beginning readers based on three stories from Irish mythology about legendary hero Fionn MacCumhaill I’m calling Finn the Hero. Even better, though, is that my publisher agreed that my friend Adam Clark would be a great choice for the illustrator. I cannot begin to tell you how thrilled I am about that. Adam and I first started talking about this project about five years ago, and we just never got anywhere with it. Now, we’re totally doing it! Adam’s colorful, comic-book style illustrations are going to fit perfectly with these stories, as well as providing much needed context clues for early readers.

The text of these short pattern books looks so simple, but honestly, they are about the most difficult thing I’ve ever written. The first one for instance, Finn and the Boys, tells the story so that reading kindergartners can read it independently. It has 125 words total, but only 29 different words. So deceptively difficult to write! Here are the literacy features for the first book:

–repeated practice on /short a/ and /short i/ phonemes (Language acquisition is easier when there is greater difference between phonemes practiced so children can feel the physical difference in how they are pronounced. Emergent readers need to see and pronounce a printed word between 15 and 20 times before it becomes automatically readable in any new context where they might encounter it.)
–introduces challenging diphthongs -ay, -oy, and -ow; introduces challenging initial consonant blends str- and thr-; includes one word with the /ô/ phoneme
–100% of the words are phonetically predictable and monosyllabic
–includes thirteen words (this, is, and, to, with, the, will, not, are, still, three, now, they) from the “frequent words list,” a list of about two hundred words that make up almost 60% of all English words in print
–simple syntax patterns are repeated throughout, making the text predictable, as well as reinforcing common English syntactical structures.
–125 words total; 29 different words
–Lexile 220 (Kdg-early 1st Grade)

I’ll write more about the second and third books as we get closer to be publication, but be looking for Finn the Hero in 2016!


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