Teacher’s first book hits Scholastic shelves
Brenda Maier, an educator at Union Public Schools, wrote “The Little Red Fort,” a retelling of a classic folk tale.
Like many teachers, Brenda Maier dreamed of writing a children’s book. The K-5 gifted education specialist for Union Public Schools says a storyline came to her when her youngest son was 4 years old and enamored with “The Little Red Hen.”
Maier’s other three children were into fort-building, which sparked her idea for “The Little Red Fort,” a retelling of the classic folk tale. In Maier’s book, young Ruby proves her ingenuity in spite of three doubtful brothers.
Through participation in writing conferences and critique groups, hard work and a few serendipitous connections, Maier obtained an agent, who sent her book to an editor at Scholastic.
Inspired by the book’s illustrator, artist Sonia Sánchez of Barcelona, Spain, the characters in “The Little Red Fort” are Hispanic. Additionally, “One of the schools I work at has a high Hispanic population, and I see a lack of books that mirror their experiences,” Maier explains. “I wanted to reflect them. My editor and I agreed that it was the right choice. Can you imagine not ever seeing someone that looks like you in a book?”
Nearly five years after Scholastic first read Maier’s book, she is seeing it on book fair shelves. “I would have spent my whole career working toward this,” Maier says. “It’s a dream.”
“The Little Red Fort” is available in hardcover at Amazon and Barnes and Noble for $12-$13. A Spanish translation will release in June.