My name is Erica Graham and I am the author of the children’s book series “Talking Tales”. I graduated from Southern Illinois University of Edwardsville with my Master of Science Degree in Speech-Language Pathology. I also hold my Certificate of Clinical Competence with the American Speech-Language Hearing Association. In addition to being a speech-language pathologist, I am married and have two very loving and energetic young children. As a mother, I understand the difficulty caregivers have finding time to work on speech with their children. This was the inspiration that began my journey as a children’s book author and illustrator. In my pursuit to create a fun and easy way for therapists, children, and their caregivers to enhance speech development while promoting literacy, I have written a series of exciting children’s books. Each book focuses on a core sound used in the English language.Outside of writing and working as a Speech Language Pathologist, I enjoy spending time outdoors with my husband and daughters, volunteering with the youth group at church, and a good cup of tea.
2. What made you decide you wanted to be a writer?
There has never been a point in my life that I can remember deciding to be a writer. I have always enjoyed creating stories. It was my brother, also an author, who encouraged me to publish my idea for a children’s series to help with speech.
3. How long have you been writing?
I have always written for personal enjoyment. However, I began writing and illustrating my Talking Tales series in 2015.
4. Where is your favourite spot to write?
As long as I have a hot cup of tea, I can write anywhere!
5. What is your writing pet peeve?
The most annoying thing for me is when I think I am completely finished with a book, and I get my “final” proof only to realize I missed a typo or illustration error.
6. Where does your inspiration for your books come from?
When children are learning to speak, they first observe how words sound. This helps them develop an understanding of speech sounds as they learn to talk. Many times when we are working on encouraging speech development or correcting speech sounds, speech-language pathologists will use word lists. However, many parents report difficulty finding time or difficulty getting their children to attend to word lists at home. I wanted to combine my knowledge as a speech-language pathologist with my love for writing to create a fun way for children and their caregivers to work on speech development and promote literacy. I also wanted to ensure that these books contained fun story lines that could be enjoyed by children who are not working on their speech. Each book targets a specific speech sound in the English language.
7. If you could meet any character from a book, who would it be and why?
Gandalf from the Lord of the Rings because…who wouldn’t want to meet Gandalf?
8. Do you have a favourite author? If so, who?
This is a very hard question since I have so many. One of my favorite children’s authors is Dr. Seuss. I love that most of his books target an educational concept such as cause and effect, colors, shapes, and opposites in a fun way. This inspired me to write my books so that they can be used to target speech or read strictly for enjoyment.
9. Tell us what you’re currently working on.
I am currently working on the fourth children’s book in my Talking Tales series that I hope to release in the early half of 2017. Feel free to follow me on Facebook, Goodreads, or Amazon for more information as the release date nears. You can also join my email list for information on new releases by sending your preferred email address to firstname.lastname@example.org
10. Which one of your books is your favourite?
Out of the three books I have published, my favorite has been “Talking Tales: Cricket’s Guitar”. I love music and it was the most fun to illustrate out of the first three books. However, I am currently working on my fourth book and I have been enjoying illustrating this one even more.
About the Talking Tales Series
The Talking Tales books are not only fun stories, but they serve a unique purpose. This exciting new series is also designed to help with speech development.
When a child is learning to speak, he or she first learns how words sound by observing. Each book in the Talking Tales series is focused on a different core sound in its naturally occurring word positions, thus increasing a child’s awareness and helping him or her learn how to properly produce the targeted sound. I firmly believe that parents and caregivers are the most important people in a child’s life. For this reason, I have included some speech tips in the front of each book so that these books can be used in a home setting.
The Talking Tales books are tools to help speech development. They do not replace speech therapy. If you do have any questions or concerns about your child’s speech or language development, please consult his or her physician or speech language pathologist. These specialists will be able to help determine if your child’s speech is developing typically or if they may benefit from some intervention.
Talking Tales: The Bright Red Tricycle
The bright red tricycle loves spending every day riding around with his boy Ryan. But when Ryan’s dad brings home a new bicycle, the little red tricycle quickly finds himself on an unknown journey. Will the little red tricycle ever be ridden by Ryan again, or is he destined to rust away in a scrap yard? This story is a great tool for any parent or speech therapist. It explores the tale of the bright red tricycle while providing over 80 examples of the “r” sound in various word locations and blends to increase speech development. This book also includes tips for parents who are working with their child’s speech at home.
Purchase Link: Amazon
Talking Tales: Cricket’s Guitar
When Teri hears a small voice calling her, she never would have guessed who she would meet…a cricket! But not just any cricket. This cricket has a guitar. He is hoping that Teri can help him replace a broken string on his guitar. Will Teri’s creative thinking be able to help cricket, or will cricket never play his guitar again? This engaging story is a great tool for any parent or speech therapist. It provides over 80 examples of the “t” sound in various word locations to increase speech development. This book also includes tips for parents who are working with their child’s speech at home.
Purchase Link: Amazon
Taking Tales: Sam’s Sticky Sucker
Sam has dreamed all night about his strawberry sucker. When morning arrives, he is unable to resist sneaking downstairs to eat his sucker before breakfast. But when mom comes toward the room and Sam is forced to run back to bed, he loses track of his sticky strawberry sucker. Now where could that sticky strawberry sucker have gone? Will Sam find the sucker before his mom? This funny story is a great tool for any parent or speech therapist. It provides over 170 examples of the “s” sound in various word locations and blends to increase speech development. This book also includes tips for parents who are working with their child’s speech at home.
Purchase Link: Amazon