‘Terrible Trevor’, due to launch June 2, continues Pulido’s ‘River of Imagination’ series, which she has enhanced with forward-thinking tools such as an interactive tutorial/learning DVD and music provided by husband/producer Michael Pulido.
“We didn’t write the books to make money, or just for the books’ sake,” Michael explained. “We wanted to create a platform to launch our core curriculum – creative writing and music – and to also show others that they could do the same thing.”
The journey began in 2009 with Pia Pulido’s first self-published book, ‘The Blue Dragonfly,’ inspired by her stepson Devyn who is now a freshman at MacArthur High School.
“Years ago, I was looking for a way to bond with him before Michael and I were married, and we went to the park together,” she said. “Along a pond, there was a blue dragonfly, so I took the opportunity to use our imaginations together.”
Colorful pictures, engaging music and a classically tense storyline pitting good-guy Dragonfly against bad-guy Venus Fly Trap all conspire to draw the readers in, and before they realize it, they are exploring and learning.
The Pulidos buried another agenda in each book: get feedback from the parents and teachers that used it, so that they could document increased learning engagement.
“We can show that it moves students to a higher level, not just with grades but also improvements in social development,” Michael continued. “We’re not doctors or psychologists, but we can help guide parents as they interact with their children.”
Teachers, too, are finding inspiration from the books and related tools. At the request of her peers, Pia has begun adapting the tools and methodology for teaching math, social sciences, history and language arts.
The couple is excited at the prospect that others may join them in creating a learning experience that reaches ‘outside the box’.
“We want to inspire them to not do everything the same way, every year – to freshen their approach,” Michael said. “Step away from the written books and put together something of your own.
“How do you know when kids are truly learning something, or just repeating it, without understanding? That’s what we want to learn.
“We see the books as tools to bring together the kids, the teachers and the parents, where they can all wrap their arms around this process.”
Pia Pulido also shares her creative writing expertise with classes offered through the Irving Arts Center, and with a number of home school networks. She said she’s thrilled when she hears from students in her original class of third graders who are now juniors in high school.
“They say, ‘I remember when you showed us your stories in your diary. We’re so proud of you.’
“And I remind them that if I can do it, you can do it, too.”