Former schoolteacher and Walled Lake Resident, Maria Dismondy, is the author behind a series of children’s books aimed at teaching kids about bullying.
Dismondy graduated from Michigan State University with her M.A. in teaching. She taught grades kindergarten through second at South Lyon and Plymouth Canton schools for 11 years and served as a reading interventionist before she was inspired to write her first book, Spaghetti In A Hotdog Bun.
“Somewhere around 2008 I was searching for books to read to my class about bullying and I got really frustrated because I just couldn’t find anything that was realistic. I found a lot of books about animals and teasing, but nothing with real kids that someone would really relate to…so I decided to write a book,” Dismondy said.
After her first book took off, she left her teaching career to become a full time writer. Two years after her first book was released, Dismondy teamed up with Bob Sornson, an educational specialist, to write and release her second book The Juice Box Bully.
Today, as a full time writer, Dismondy attends her book signings and visits local elementary schools to talk with students about reading, writing and bullying.
Dismondy says she chose to write about bullying because of her own experiences as a teacher and a student. She wanted to share her own story and let children relate to the message.
“I was teased when I was younger, which I know 9 out of 10 of us probably were. But the thing that bothered me as a teacher was that when I was teaching first grade, I had little girls who were worried about how they looked and what they were wearing,” Dismondy said. “That just made me so sad that they were so young and already worried about those kinds of things. I think I just really wanted to make a difference to a larger audience… and I wanted to get the message out that you can be yourself and that we’re perfect just the way we are.”
Dismondy says she pulls from her experience as a classroom teacher to help her write children’s books.
“You’re with these kids day in and day out so they really provided the ideas for me. You could see on a day-to-day basis what kids needed and what lessons weren’t maybe being reinforced in the home that you wanted to reinforce in the classroom,” Dismondy said.
For now, Dismondy is spending time researching bullying among today’s children. She also began her own company and self-published two more children’s titles, The Potato Chip Champ and Pink Tiara Cookies For Three and sold close to 100,000 titles.
Dismondy has appeared on television and radio, and her first title, Spaghetti In A Hotdog Bun, is being adapted into a children’s musical by a New York playwright.
So how does it feel to have so much success.
“It’s exciting! I feel like all these different venues are helping me to get the message out,” Dismondy said.
For more information on author Maria Dismondy, visit her website at http://www.mariadismondy.com/