Dr. LaDonna Hollis is an educator and was awarded with the title of 2017-2018 Teacher of the Year for her school. She has a Master's Degree in Education and a Doctorate in Instructional Leadership. She is the author of Makayla Unique and the Yellow Tie Dyed Shirt. As a teacherpreneur, she manages her Teachers Pay Teachers Store, Silloh Curriculum.
LaDonna was born in Hopkinsville, Kentucky and currently resides in Dacula, Georgia with her husband, Chris. She is the mother of two sons. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with family, traveling, and reading.
Tell us a little about your latest book, “Makayla Unique and the Yellow Tie Dyed Shirt.”
Makayla Unique and her mom struggle over choosing what clothing to wear. Now Makayla Unique is at her wit’s end with her mom.
What was the inspiration behind this book?
My niece was seven years old at the time. She and her mom (my sister) were at odds over my niece wanting to wear her tie dyed shirt more than once that week. My niece was complaining because she did not want to wear the outfit that her mom had picked out for her that day. My niece was upset and put on a small scene. In the end, my niece was able to choose a different shirt to wear.
I also recall seeing a post on Facebook about a mother and her young daughter having a difference of opinion over clothing choices.
Both incidents were an inspiration for me writing this book. It is a topic that many parents will be able to relate due to struggles with their own children choosing clothes to wear.
What’s the most surprising thing you learned while writing your book?
The journey that lies ahead with self-promoting and the marketing of the book is the most surprising thing that I am still learning. The book itself was a major project. Now I must find ways to connect with my readers.
You’re a teacher, correct? How does your experience as an educator help you in your career as a writer?
Yes, I am a teacher and currently teach second grade. My experience as an educator helps my career as a writer because I can relate to the age range that the book is catered. Children can use reading strategies to figure out any unknown words in the book. Some vocabulary words were used to spark discussion. I am able to make my book appeal to young readers.
You were recently awarded the title of “Teacher of the Year,” congratulations!!! What has your experience been as the new Teacher of the Year?
Thank you! My husband, Chris, retired from the U.S. Army after 20 years. My family moved to a new state every three years. I never thought that I would ever obtain this title due to all of the military transitions. I am blessed to finally achieve this title. It is quite an honor to represent my hard working colleagues. This is one of my greatest professional accomplishments.
For new teachers coming into the profession, what advice would you offer them?
My advice for new teachers coming into the profession is to make sure that teaching children is your passion. Focus on the whole child. Respect and treat each child as if they were your own.
A goal to strive for is in the words of William A. Ward, “The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” Be that teacher that inspires.
On a more personal note: Tell us a little about your “real” (non-writing) life — family, job, church life.
I have two older children, Savion and C.J. Spending quality time with my family is of great importance. Going to the movies or sitting back relaxed watching t.v. at home and taking family trips provide a source of enjoyment for me. I have a love for reading. Denim, the Chihuahua, and Cesar, the Yorkie, like to rest beside me when I am reading a good book. Going to church is an integral part of my family.
I have taught for 16 years. Due to my husband previously being in the military, I taught in Germany, Kentucky, Colorado, Tennessee, Virginia, and Georgia. In my spare time, I am a teacherpreneur. I manage my Teachers Pay Teachers Store, Silloh Curriculum which promotes products for teachers who teach kindergarten through third grade.
Does your personal life give you inspiration for your writing?
Yes. My personal life provided the inspiration for Makayla Unique and the Yellow Tie Dyed Shirt. I am thinking about creating a Makayla Unique series which will be based upon my nieces, nephews, or other situations that I encounter daily as a teacher.
Who is a creative person (not a writer) who has influenced you and your work?
A name does not immediately come to mind when I think of a creative person who has influence me or my work. Most of my teachers had a positive influence upon my life. My family played an important role by providing an encouraging environment to strive to achieve the things that were of significance to me.
Do you have any advice for the yet-to-be-published writers who may be reading this interview?
The process involved in writing a book may take longer than you expected. Stay focused and persevere until you birth your final project.
If you had to persuade someone to buy your book in a tweet (140 characters), what would you say?
Like unexpected spins in stories? Read #Makayla Unique and the Yellow Tie Dyed Shirt @DRLaDonnaHollis Why is Makayla Unique at her wit’s end?
Makayla Unique is at her wits end with her mom. Readers will express delight with the unexpected spin in this story.
Buy the book: Amazon
Connect with the author: firstname.lastname@example.org