Updated: Oct 12, 2022
by Christy Matthes Thursday, November 11, 2021
Welcome to SCBWI-MI's Book Birthday Blog! Where we celebrate new books from Michigan's authors and illustrators
Thursday, November 11, 2021 Book Birthday Blog with Kathleen Marcath
Congratulations to Kathleen Marcath on the release of My Monster Truck Goes Everywhere with Me posted by Christy Matthes
How did you come up with the idea for your book?
While studying ASL and Deaf culture, I noticed the need for more children's books, inclusive of ASL, and was inspired to write My Monster Truck Goes Everywhere with Me. My three-year-old grandson and his love for monster trucks are the basis for this first book. It started as a poem and unfolded into a story of childhood fun and imagination with ASL illustrations on each page. My goal is for children and families, both hearing and d/Deaf, to see ASL as normal—just like any other language.
What is something you hope your readers will take away from your book?
I hope my readers get the magical experience of ASL. My introduction to ASL came at a retreat. A woman taught us several songs, but one was in my head and on my hands all week. When our group signed "Our God is an Awesome God" the following Sunday, something came over me and has not left. I believe ASL is an untapped resource we can all benefit from. The potential is limitless. I hope our readers find it valuable and purposeful.
Research shows that children who learn sign language, even baby signs, can improve their vocabulary by 15-20% compared to non-signing peers. I hope ASL Picture Books will be a catalyst to bring ASL into the classroom from preschool through high school. Our talented team's videos offer lessons with each of the 32 signs, with native signers Diana Campbell and Michelle Osterhout brilliantly telling the story. In addition, Detroit's own Dennis Neubacher narrates a vibrant tale of My Monster Truck Goes Everywhere with Me for the English student. You can read all about them in our blog article, "Award Winning Team." The videos are all available with a QR code in the book. You can pick up a copy wherever books are sold. Oakiebees.com is offering special discounts now through December!
What inspires you to write?
I continue to be inspired by readers, reviews, and awards. We were so honored to receive the Kirkus Starred Review and were selected in April to be spotlighted by the Kirkus Indie editors. Readers' Favorite gave us the silver five-star seal and the bronze medal and RWYK Certified Great Reads! The best inspiration comes from our readers' reviews and big smiles on little faces.
Writing itself comes from the heart. Children are our most precious gifts and for any one of them to be given less than their peers breaks my heart. I believe all children also have a gift to give. They need the space and opportunity to express their unique purpose in life, to do that thing that only they can.
During my studies at Madonna University, I heard the story of Alice Cogswell and a thousand other stories throughout history where our educational system or society did not allow d/Deaf and hard-of-hearing folks to thrive. As a result, I am inspired to write with gentle kindness and open doors to children not yet seen or heard. I always share Alice's story with students at school visits. I believe it also inspires them. When I hear or see children light up seeing or using sign language, I am inspired to keep writing.
What was the most difficult part of writing this book?
The first step! That is always the hardest. To step out and face my fears. Finally, doing something I had dreamed about but knew nothing about and stepping on the scene of Facebook and Instagram.
You see writing a book and building your social media platform go hand in hand. I wanted nothing to do with social media. All I heard was "the drama" and "be careful." I am delighted to say that on my Instagram I have met so many beautiful people. Other authors, educators, moms, thoughtful people willing to reach out and give a hand and who are making a significant impact in our world with their presence and participation. I am also on Facebook but I find Instagram to be my favorite. I have learned so much writing My Monster Truck Goes Everywhere with Me.
What's next for you? Any events coming up or new books in the works?
I have HUGE news coming in December. Unfortunately, I cannot say what it is yet, so subscribe to our website to be the first to hear the exciting top-secret information.