Do you have favorite family stories or treasures handed down from your parents, grandparents, or even great grandparents? Becky Van Vleet has a passion to create and preserve family memories and traditions as well as share family stories. In her traveling series of picture books, Becky has done just that, first with a little skirt, then a harmonica, and now a rocking chair in Roxie, the Traveling Rocker.
Becky is a retired teacher/principal, and she and her husband live in Colorado Springs. She was inspired to write her first book, Talitha, the Traveling Skirt, because a little plaid skirt had been traveling around in her family for three generations. That’s more than 70 years!
Kathy’s Interview with Becky
Kathy: So, Becky, are you ready to answer a few questions before we let Molly take over to interview Roxie herself?
Becky: Yes, Kathy. You first, then Molly!
Kathy: What were some of your favorite books as a child?
Becky: My absolute favorite books as a child were the Henry Huggins series by Beverly Cleary. I still have my Henry Huggins book I bought with my allowance money in my home today.
Kathy: How special that you still have that book! I loved Beverly Cleary’s books, too! What do you enjoy most about writing for children?
Becky: I like to write a book that will take children places in their imaginations. I want them to feel like they are right in the story.
Kathy: Well, I know they’ll feel part of your traveling series of stories! What was your favorite subject when you were in school?
Becky: No surprise here—it was reading!
Kathy: Mine, too. What else do you like to do for fun?
Becky: In this golden season of my life, I like to travel to places I’ve never been before, sometimes right in my city.
Kathy: You have several grandchildren. What is your favorite thing to do with them?
Becky: Oh, it’s hard to name one thing. We enjoy making caves and hideouts with blankets and flashlights and playing together outside. But reading books to my grandchildren is certainly at the top of the list!
Molly’s Interview with Roxie
Okay, Molly and Roxie, rock on!
Molly: What was it like to ride home from the store in an old pickup truck?
Roxie: It was a bumpy ride, but very exciting.
Molly: I bet you were especially excited to arrive at the farm. I’d love to live on a farm and chase chickens and dig in the mud with the pigs. What was your favorite thing to do?
Roxie: The best thing ever was to rock and read with my children that I lived with.
Molly: That does sound like fun. Did you always stay on the farm?
Roxie: No. I traveled with my children to a small town, then to a large city, and my last place to travel to was a school. And I’m still at that school, rocking and reading with hundreds of children!
Molly: Wow, a whole school of readers! I’m not very old, but I’ve seen that children grow bigger pretty fast. One little boy in our family shot up several inches in one year and his legs outgrew his pants. Did your children ever outgrow you, Roxie?
Roxie: No, when Mary and Sue and JD got bigger, I got bigger too, just like magic!
Molly: Hmm, I wonder if that would work on my short corgi legs.
Roxie: Molly, with great imagination, I think you could have the magic too.
Molly: I’ll have work on my imagination skills. But it sounds like fun. I had a doggie sister named Amber, who used to love when children read to her. And I have other doggie friends who go to schools and libraries to help children read. Do you think when your children read to you that it helped them learn to read and love books?
Roxie: Oh, yes, most definitely. Great question, Molly!
Molly: Thank you, Roxie, for telling me about your adventures. I hear there’s a surprise for you in your last home. I love surprises, especially special treats, like cheerios, cheese, bacon . . . Oh wait, I guess rockers don’t eat, but I sure hope your surprise is special, too!
Roxie: In my last home, the school, you would not believe my surprise. JD sat me in the corner of his classroom so I could rock and read with hundreds of children all the time!
Kathy: Thank you, Becky and Roxie, for sharing with us about this newest book in your traveling series! We know children will love reading Roxie, the Traveling Rocker and enjoying the super cute illustrations by Courtney Smith. You ladies rock!
Where You Can Find Roxie the Traveling Rocker and Help Libraries and Schools
Kathy: Becky, one last thing before you and Roxie go. Can you tell us where we can find Roxie, the Traveling Rocker, and your other books, Harvey, the Traveling Harmonica, and Talitha, the Traveling Skirt?
Becky: You can purchase all the children’s picture books in my “traveling” series at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. I’d love for you to check it out. But, Molly, there’s one more thing—guess what? If you go to my website and click on the tab, “Just for Fun”, you can fill out a form to request one of my books to be donated to your school or preschool. I love to donate books! www.beckyvanvleet.com
Molly: Bow WOW! That sounds like a great way to help out libraries and schools!
More about Becky: Becky Van Vleet is a retired teacher and principal. She and her husband make their home near Colorado Springs, where Becky enjoys oil painting, gardening, eating cotton candy, and hiking and biking in the great outdoors. Becky relishes spending time with her family and especially reading books to her grandchildren. Her website is devoted to creating and preserving family memories while connecting generations.
Before You Go
If you’d like more activity ideas from Molly and me for art, history, and nature, curriculum connections, and links to more resources, be sure to sign up for my newsletter and receive a free guide to 5 Ways Art Benefits Children’s Cognitive, Physical, Spiritual, and Social Development, with a Few Fun and Easy Activities for each Benefit. This month we return to our school-year format of lots of resources for all those who love to help children discover how much fun learning can be!
You may also visit our website where you’ll find free downloadable puzzles, how-to-draw pages, coloring pages for kids, and an updated list of my hands-on workshops, chapels, and presentations for all ages.