Antoine Lunsford is an educator and author born and raised in Washington, DC. He graduated
from Bowie State University in 2010 with a Bachelors Degree in Elementary Education. He’s
taught in DC, Prince Georges County and Baltimore County. Lunsford has experience teaching
Children in grades pre-k through sixth grade in urban and suburban settings. He’s also the creator of the Little Andy’s World children’s book series. So far the series has four books:
Little Andy: The Greatest Recess Monitor Ever (2017)
Oh No: There’s a Bully in Our School! (2018)
Little Andy Runs for School President (December 2018)
Little Andy’s Last Chance (spring/Summer of 2019)
Mr. Lunsford is also the CEO and Founder of the Lunsford – Williams Foundation located in
So Antoine, Your first book, Little Andy: The Greatest Recess Monitor Ever" was released in December of 2017. Congratulations to you on that! I'm sure you've been asked this question plenty of times before, but, why is the main character a Recess Monitor?
I wanted to start a trend. I’ve never knew of or saw a recess monitor as the main character in a children’s book. So, I decided it would be great to create a new role for a student with the intention of teachers, principals and students to be truly inspired after they read the book to actually make the recess monitor an official position at recess. I think students would love it.
In "The Greatest Recess Monitor Ever," the main character Andy changes and begins to treat his friends very poorly. How can this book be used by parents and educators to teach young children about positive behavior and treating their peers fairly?
The book will help students realize friendships are so important and the words we speak can make a person or break them. More importantly, we have to do what we can to help others. It may impact them in ways we may never know.
Out of curiosity, is your character Andy inspired by one of your real life students?
Andy is a fictional, 12 year old version of me! Actually, a family friend, Sandy, always called me Andy as a child. Even to this day, she never calls me Antoine. She calls me Andy. That was my inspiration to name the main character Little Andy.
Can we expect to see more books from the Andy series soon? Do you plan to publish any books outside of the series?
In this first volume, there will be five books. Also, I’m considering making a spin off to the Little Andy’s World Series by having one of the female characters as the new Lead character. I haven’t made up my mind yet and I’m looking forward to discussing this idea with my creative team.
Your latest book “Oh no! There’s a Bully in Our School” covers a very sensitive issue. What made you decide to tackle the topic of bullying in a children’s book rather than a book for adults?
I know that bullying is an epidemic in our schools. I just wanted to write a book that shows that students bully others for various reasons but there is hope for the bully to change and courage for the person being bullied to stand up for his or herself not by retaliating but by helping the person who’s hurting them.
Can you tell us about some of the responses you’ve gotten about “Oh no! There’s a Bully in Our School”—either from kids or adults, bullies or bullied?
Adults often tell me that they’re glad that I wrote the book because there are so many adults and not just children, who are dealing with this issue on their jobs, their homes, etc. I was actually surprised that many adults not only resonate with the story from a child’s perspective but how they can change the way they look at those who’ve hurt them. They realize that hurt people, hurt people. Also, many children have read it and enjoyed it because they understand that no matter what you’ve done wrong there’s always an opportunity to turn your life around and do good to help others. But, changes always start with you first.
Bullying is a complex topic; but for someone who might be reading this right now, who may be experiencing bullying but doesn’t know what to do, or hasn’t found the courage to speak out, what is one piece of advice you would give to them?
You have to speak out or no one will ever know what you’re going through. Let others (teachers, family, friends) know. Your quality of life and peace of mind is precious and worth fighting for. Don’t have a victim mentality but take on the overcomer mindset. Be strong and courageous. This situation is only temporary. You’re coming out stronger then you were before.
Besides tackling the challenges of bullying, what do you hope young readers will take away from reading your book(s)?
I want readers to understand that they always have an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others and that you don’t have to let mistakes define you. Also, surround yourself with a group of friends you care for you and will do whatever they can to help you and that will be there in good and bad times.
On a more personal note: Tell us a little about your “real” (non-writing) life — family, job, hobbies, etc
I’m an elementary school teacher born and raised in Washington, DC. I’m the only child of my wonderful parents. I enjoy spending time with family and friends, traveling, teaching and learning martial arts. Also, I am the Founder and CEO of the Lunsford-Williams Foundation located in Washington, DC. Lastly, I am a huge wrestling fan and I watch the food network all the time!
How does your experience as an educator help you in your career as a children’s book author?
Children are my inspiration for writing. I feel like they need characters they can resonate with and storylines with lessons they can always benefit from reading and lessons they can pull from throughout their lives.
Who is a creative person (not a writer) who has influenced you and your work?
Honestly Craig Bartlett, the creator of the cartoon Hey Arnold, Marc Brown the cartoonist who created the television show Arthur and Jim Jinkins who illustrated the cartoon Doug are my influences. That same excellence and creativity they had that intrigued me as a child watching their shows still influences me today as an author/storyteller. I too one day would like for the Little Andy’s World book series to become a cartoon.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors who may be reading this interview?
Go for your dreams. Never settle. Network and market yourself as much as possible on social media, book fairs (locally and nationally) and attend as many events as a vendor as you can. Visit schools and host your own events at libraries. The whole world is at your fingertips. Lastly, don’t procrastinate. Self-discipline and time management are crucial keys to your success.
Where can readers purchase your book? How can they get in contact with you?
My books are available for purchase on Amazon. Anyone who’d like to get in contact with me can follow me and send me a direct message on Instagram @littleandysworld and email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Get Your Copy of our February Issue of Writer's Life