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The Queen Bee

Author Joanne Telcide-Bryant visits the Public Library for storytime and crafts of
Author Joanne Telcide-Bryant visits the Public Library for storytime of "No, I Am Not, Says Kenny the Koala."

From children’s book author to educator, Joanne Telcide-Bryant is helping give academically at-risk children the gift of self-expression.

By Michael Pallerino

In “I’m Just Dying to Be Queen Bee,” award-winning children’s book author Joanne Telcide-Bryant follows the life of a young worker bee determined to change the hierarchy of the life in front of her and achieve her dreams. The heroine of the story, Nastassia, has her sights on setting and sticking to her plan. The satisfaction of believing in her abilities and self-determination will earn her the life she wants sits at the heart of every story Telcide-Bryant tells.

Written and published amid the pandemic, the book is far deeper and personal than any other Telcide-Bryant has written. By mirroring Nastassia’s search for personal freedom with the author’s own attempts to deal with the loss of freedom she experienced during the lockdown, “I’m Just Dying to Be Queen Bee” is a study in surviving and beating the odds.

As the founder of the family-owned Josh & Nelly’s Publishing, Telcide-Bryant has been on a mission to teach various growth-mindset themes that encourage young readers to think critically using Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) skills. With more than 20 years as an educational specialist, speaker, presenter, and ESOL (English to Speakers of Other Languages) educator, she works with students with speech impairments, and tutors others as a reading comprehension specialist for the academically at-risk. “Reading children’s books to my students brings joy to my heart. Growing one’s imagination proves that early intervention is essential for achieving academic success. I love it when children develop reading skills and become confident readers.”

As a first-generation Haitian-American, and bilingual English and Haitian Creole speaker, Telcide-Bryant says it is important to promote cultural sensitivity and to provide optimal awareness of cultural diversity as a component of her writing.

In case you are wondering, along with Telcide-Bryant, Josh & Nelly’s Publishing features the inspiration and work of her family, including her children, Josh and Nelly (chief content advisors); and her nephews, Micah Guillet (content advisor), James Telcide (illustrator), Brittany Pradere (chief editor) and Lauwenda Telcide (editorial support).

Josh & Nelly’s books are strategically designed to set up young learners for success. For example, each book includes a prologue, glossary, and set of comprehension questions — learning targets embedded in one location to provide young readers with the tools necessary to feel and be confident when reading the books.

Joanne Telcide-Bryant
Joanne Telcide-Bryant

“Our readers are building their knowledge, reasoning skills, and developing their dispositions regarding the story theme, story characters, and story outcomes. I remember times when I present my book, ‘No, I Am Not! Says Kenny the Koala.’ Children were asked to reflect on why Kenny is angry throughout the story. Our young learners explain various perspectives as to why he displays multiple moods and how they believe he can better express himself as the story unfolds.”

Telcide-Bryant says parents often attend the Storytime and Activity presentations she conducts with their children, which incorporate an array of learning targets such as story read-along, vocabulary building, comprehension/critical skills activity, arts/crafts, and show and tell children participation. “The parents are able to witness the courage their children exhibit about sharing ideas, knowledge, and drawings that help explain their perspectives.”

Each of Telcide-Bryant’s stories feature a growth-mindset theme presentation that focuses on SEL strategies. The interactive segments afford students the opportunity to shape their ability to manage emotions and behaviors and set and achieve positive goals. The SEL competencies include self-awareness, self-management, responsible decision-making, social awareness, and relationship skills.

The presentations encourage children to participate in social activities centered around each story’s theme. “Exposing children early on to vocabulary and literacy rules, and building academic confidence and independence relating to shaping perspective and interpretation is vital. It helps provoke an intrinsic motivation that assists with making sense of words and word structuring,” Telcide-Bryant says.

As a teacher who typically coaches young readers who struggle with literacy, exposing them to these types of fun stories help pique their interest. It provokes, what Telcide-Bryant says is, an intrinsic motivation that assists with making sense of words and word structuring. “Children reading early in life can better form social-emotional skills through their imagination that develops as they read. The best way to address literacy challenges is exposure to fun stories that are presented in diversified ways. It is for this reason that I present story read-along and crafts. Differentiation in literature is a way of meeting students where they’re performing while assisting them along the way to improve skills and increase their knowledge.”

With the pandemic mostly behind us, Telcide-Bryant says it is encouraging to see the world opening up again. She believes this will allow people to congregate and socialize without restrictions. “This is wonderful for all of us. As children struggled academically during the lockdown, my work as an author and storyteller was aided in bridging the literacy gap through thoughtful and interactive read-along presentations. I feel a great sense of eagerness to share my passion for creative storytelling in a variety of learning modes through entertaining ways.”

Like the heroines in her story, Telcide-Bryant will continue to direct the focus on giving every child, every family, an equal opportunity to not only learn, but feel comfortable and incentivized to do so.

Reading time with Josh & Nelly’s
Learn more about Josh & Nelly’s at joshnellyspublishing.com, and consider adding the following titles your child’s reading list:

  •  “Nelly’s BFF”
  •  “I Am Going to BIG School”
  •  “No, I Am Not! Says Kenny the Koala”
  •  “The Best Time of the Year”
  •  “I’m Just Dying to Be Queen Bee”

Literary Recognitions
Ms. Telcide-Bryant is the proud recipient of the following literary awards:

  •  The 2023 Bookfest Award and The 2023 Literary Titan Gold Award for “I Am Going to BIG School,” Published 11/2021.
  •  The 2023 Bookfest Award and The 2023 Children’s Book International Finalist for “No, I Am Not! Says Kenny the Koala”, Published 2/2022.
  •  The 2023 Speak Up Talk Radio International Firebird Book Award for “The Best Time of the Year,” Published 10/2022.
  •  The 2023 Literary Titan Gold Award for “I’m Just Dying to Be Queen Bee,” Published 4/2023.
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