Before Miranda Paul became a children’s book author she was studying aquatic biology. Luckily for young readers today, Paul switched her major to English and Education.
“Now I feel like I’m just using everything that I’m passionate about, and everything that I’m good at, and they’re all coming together,” Paul said.
“I really feel like I found where I can use my voice for the most good.”
Paul’s voice reaches children, and adults, everywhere, with her messages of environmental awareness and understanding.
On Saturday, February 27, the popular author will pay a visit to Gilroy Library where she will read from her book, Water Is Water.
Earlier in the month, on Feb. 4, Mike Wasserman, District 1 Supervisor for Santa Clara County, also stopped by the library, as a guest reader for the Silicon Valley Reads program. His book of choice was also Water Is Water.
“Any day I can start with children, beats any day I start with adults,” Wasserman said. “It energizes me, I look forward to it.”
The Supervisor, a staunch advocate for education, is well aware of the importance of reading.
“You have to read in order to be educated, and to be happy and successful, you’ve got to be educated, so reading is the cornerstone of education,” Wasserman said.
The storytime attendees followed along as the supervisor read from the book, making sure to take time to present to the excited crowd the beautifully illustrated pages that for Wasserman, were a main feature of the book.
“I read the book twice. Each time I went back and looked, I found more things hidden,” Wasserman said of Jason Chin’s illustrations.
Andrew Brinton, who attended the reading with his daughter, Lyra, 2, enjoyed storytime.
“I thought Mr. Wasserman did a great job,” Brinton said.
Supervising Children’s Librarian, Sharon Kelly, agreed.
“I thought Mike was great, he obviously spends a lot of time with children and families, he’s a natural,” Kelly said.
“He had so much enjoyment reading it, and that came across during the story, so we were very happy, and I think the kids and the families were very happy too,” Kelly said.
Each year the Silicon Valley Reads program selects a particular theme. This year’s theme is water. The organization then selects companion books for children that reflect that particular theme. Water Is Water in their opinion, was a perfect fit.
“We were excited to discover Water Is Water by Miranda Paul, as we searched for a great book for our youngest audience, pre-K-Grade 3,” said Nancy Howe, county librarian and co-chair of Silicon Valley Reads.
The goal of Silicon Valley Reads program is to have families read together about a subject matter, each at their own level, so that they can think and talk about a subject that is important to our region.
“After so many years of drought, everyone is more aware of what a precious resource water is in our lives,” Howe said.
Kelly agrees that Paul’s book is an excellent choice for a read-a-loud book.
“Its very difficult to write about a subject as complex as the water cycle for a preschool audience,” Kelly said.
“To have it engaging, and exciting, and compelling, and understandable, and the illustrator did such a beautiful job, so together, that’s why I think it’s a near-perfect book.”
Paul is more than pleased about her association with the Silicon Valley Reads program, and excited about the upcoming readings scheduled throughout the Bay Area.
“I think it’s wonderful that there are going to be all these other read-a-louds,” Paul said. “I’m so honored that people are going to read Water Is Water, and hopefully enjoy it, and inspire some kids.”
Her books come from a place of passion for the environment, and passion for poetry, and literature and science, and the beauty of nature.
“I really feel like there is a connection, an innate connection, between people and our environment,” Paul said.
The fact that her books have been so widely received came as a surprise to the author.
“When you write books for children, essentially, if you boil it down, you’re writing for about 8 percent of the population,” Paul said.
The author enjoys working with publishers who make an effort to reach bookstore shoppers as well as the school and library market.
She’s found that even though she writes picture books, which are normally geared to a younger audience, her books are hitting a much broader age range, including the upper grade students, who use them for school projects.
She discovered one such project on a recent elementary school visit, where, pasted all over the stairwell walls, were hand-drawn raindrops. Inside each raindrop students had written their ideas on how to conserve water.
Paul described the display as a “rainstorm.”
She was all the more astounded to find out that the project had been inspired by her book.
“Its an honor to have my books, or the topics, be these springboards,” Paul said.
Ideally, her goal is to take the spotlight off herself, as an author, and shine it on the children.
“Really that’s the only way we move forward, environmentally,” Paul said.
“A book can be in and of itself something beautiful, and fun, and a tool, but when the book is a platform, and it’s a jumping off point for action, its really amazing to see what kids can do, what ideas they can come up with, and how they can actually make change,” Paul said.
For more information about Miranda Paul’s reading at Gilroy Library, go to: http://www.sccl.org//gilroy/.