-Junior Authors Program-
The Junior Authors Program was created in September, days after the Creek Fire (2020) affected Big Creek and Pine Ridge area families. It was developed as an educationally-focused, social-emotional support for children and families feeling loss and grief due to the fire. Schools across the nation (and world) have joined together to have their students involved i helping our local kids impacted by the fire.
OUR SPRING 2020 BOOK
#1 BEST SELLER ON AMAZON
#1 NEW RELEASE ON AMAZON
This a sweet and encouraging story for children who have lost a home to wildfire. Ava and Charlie experience the shock and sadness of suddenly finding Charlie's home destroyed, along with his cherished belongings. Then, through re-building, they find hope. They discover the magic of togetherness, family, and community.
100% of book proceeds from this book go to children who lost their home in the Creek Fire.
Parents who lost homes...
"This is huge for kids. Life-changing and for some... life-saving."
"What an amazing way to process events, create change, and have kids help every step of the way. It’s powerful."
"Beyond our village of children, I think you just changed the world in one short story."
"Feeling helpless is my own fight, but feeling helpless about how to guide my kids, that’s a whole different thing. Kids who have been involved in this project are instantly "back in charge” of their world and excited about building new things."
Meet the Founder
Susie Harder, M.A., CCC-SLP
Founder of Junior Authors Program | Author | Speech-Language Pathologist
Founder & Director of Central Valley Stuttering Center
Susie is a clinical speech-language pathologist who dedicates her passion to helping kids feel heard and seen. She works with children 2-18 years old in the school-setting and in private practice. Susie loves shifting challenging situations into confidence-building opportunities for kids. To help offset the negative effects of COVID-19 and distance learning, Susie utilized her child development skills to support children in a different way this year.
A Message from Susie...
As someone who encourages children to "create their own story", here's my story about how and why this project exists.
Most people say "it doesn't happen overnight"... but this story actually did. It was during Fall, 2020, the height of distance learning chaos.
September 8th: I started my day just like any other COVID day as a working mom... I cried in my car, a culmination of exhaustion and frustration.
As the day continued, what later became the largest California wildfire in recorded history, destroyed the homes of countless friends from the mountain community where I grew up.
September 9th, I woke up inspired. No parking lot cry session. Through the shock and sadness of the wildfire devastation, my adrenaline-induced plan involved creating a social-emotional support for each child who lost a home. I sprung into action. I wrote a book before my kids woke up that morning. That book, "Where's My House?", started the momentum of where we are now.
I pictured a children's book, where these kids could see their journey represented in a sweet and powerful storyline, validating their loss and then skillfully redirecting toward hope, rebuilding, and a sense of community togetherness.
One problem: I'd never written a book before. I had to start from scratch.
Two things I knew immediately:
1- Publishing a book is much more complex and laborious than I ever imagined.
2- I wanted children to travel the behind-the-scenes journey of book publishing with me to feel like a part of the book.
Thus, I launched a voting-based platform for kids to help decide on the characters and illustrations to help build the story. Kids LOVED voting and the best part, it created something relevant, meaningful, and inspiring to be involved in... for my students AND me!
As a team, we decided that any big project is only as meaningful as how it's helping others. We decided 100% of book proceeds would go toward kids who lost homes in the fire.
It quickly grew to a global literacy-based program designed to engage kids in helping kids.
My original vision was this:
A child glowing with ownership and pride as they first held *their* published book, excited to show everyone.
On April 24th, 2021, children did exactly that and it was a magical day.
100% of students surveyed said they want to help make the next book because it was "so awesome".
Shhhhhhh.... Here's the grown-ups only info. The real gift is the experience of contributing to a project that helps others. It's a framework to engage kids in literacy, provide a sense of ownership, and organically create a project that elicits kindness and compassion.
I'm working on the specifics for next fall, but I guarantee kids (and all of us educators) are going to be excited about what's coming! Stay tuned!
– Susie Harder, M.A., CCC-SLP, Founder
If your children would like to help with the next book...
Meet the Featured Junior Authors of 2020-2021!
They lost their home, but that's not their story.
Avery Van Aacken
Bentley Van Aacken
Worldwide Collaboration of KIDS HELPING KIDS
Meet the Junior Authors of 2020-2021,
who helped create & publish our book,
Where's My House?
-Sierra National Forest-
Alexis Schulteis, 8
Allie Harder, 3
Arabella Ross, 8
Audrey Hooper, 15
Ava Schmidt, 8
Claire Roach, 7
Colt Ross, 8
Corbin Smith, 6
Dany Schulteis, 7
Elena Campos , 13
Emma Sanchez, 9
Emma Schmidt, 11
Ethan Hurtado, 8
Graham Horgan, 3
Hudson Harder, 6
Isabella Hooper, 13
Joshua Schmidt, 7
Josiah Campos, 8
Jeremiah Schmidt, 7
Kaci Campos, 11
Khushi S Buxani, 7
Liliana Hooper, 11
Presley Roach, 9
Quinn McGill, 6
Rylan Roach, 11
Samuel Sanchez, 11
Sawyer Priest, 9
Seth Poteete, 11
Shelby Nemeth, 8
Xavier Demir, 7
Zachary Poteete, 8