By Dawn Wynne, for The Children’s Book Review
Published: June 20, 2011
The night before Dawn Wynne’s first child was born, her grandmother passed away. Wishing her daughter Giovanna to hear the same stories she heard growing up prompted Wynne to write “I Remember When … ”
A nostalgic children’s board book, “I Remember When …” features illustrations of a grandmother reading to her grandchildren, demonstrating how life was simpler with rotary phones, record players, TVs in black and white with antennas, car seats in the front of the car without seat belts and other items from the past.
“The book had to be interactive to demonstrate life in a slower, more relaxed time,” Wynne says. “Kids love dialing the phone and pretending to call their friends. Today you can use your voice to make the phone dial for you, you don’t even have to press the buttons. That takes some of the fun out of it.”
Wynne believed showing her daughter photos from the past wasn’t the same as hearing the stories first hand from Wynne’s grandmother. One night she had a dream, and the idea for “I Remember When…” appeared. She knew the book had to have hands-on elements so children could grasp how these “retro” items functioned.
Self-publishing a board book in the United States, especially one with “touch-and-feel” elements, is extremely rare. Wynne spent months researching and gathering information which led her to resources outside of the U.S. She found the illustrator for her book in Ireland via the Internet, and she explored the publishers on her own, finding a factory in Shenzen, China. Due to the language differences between her and the factory manager, all the communication was done through emails, much of it in broken English, and after 6 samples, the board book finally met her specifications for a fun, instructive, interactive children’s book.
Dawn is no stranger to entrepreneurial ventures. The former actress (“General Hospital,” “Renegade” and others) produced her own film, “Stalkers,” a short movie that won the Audience Favorite Award at the UC-Davis and Sarasota Film Festivals in 2001 and was screened at Palm Springs, Toronto and many other prestigious festivals.
As a third-grade teacher for the impoverished Inglewood School District for 6 years, Dawn experienced the disadvantages to students who didn’t learn reading at an early age. She has donated books to Head Start pre-school programs to help encourage the love of reading and promote literacy. Dawn is a mother of one and has dedicated her time with public speaking to teach parents the importance of reading at an early age.
To find out more about Dawn Wynne and I Remember When…, visit: www.dawnwynne.com
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