Born and raised in Hawaii, author Pamela M. Oakland Hebert taught for a decade with the Department of Education in Honolulu, where she was an Elementary School Teacher. Ms. Hebert holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Education, as well as a Minor in Art, from the University of Hawaii. Elliot Finley’s Jus’ Plain Ole Daisy is her first novel.
An interview with Jessi Thind from Kids Channel
KidsChannel editor Jessi Thind interviews Pamela M. Hebert – teacher, historian, and author of Elliot Finley’s ‘Jus’ Plain Ole Daisy – about following her dreams… Born and raised in Hawaii, author Pamela M. Oakland Hebert taught for a decade with the Department of Education in Honolulu, where she was an Elementary School Teacher. Ms. Hebert holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Education, as well as a Minor in Art, from the University of Hawaii. Elliot Finley’s Jus’ Plain Ole Daisy is her first novel. What made you want to become a writer? My observations in the classroom inspired my writing over the years. Every year, there were a small handful of children that stood out. I could tell they felt less than the others right from the beginning of the school year, and it took a little time to bring them out of their shell. Storytelling was the perfect avenue to capture their attention, and I used it often as a tool to teach. After I left the classroom, I was especially haunted by those with little or no self-esteem, and felt a need to reach out to all of them, past, present, and future. At the very least, I wanted to let them know, albeit vicariously through storytelling, that they are okay, and that everyone has a gift within; that eventually, it will be revealed if you believe in it. I did not gain insight into my own strengths until I reached high school. It took all those years to understand that I was better at certain things, and I learned to focus on those strengths. I concluded that different beings, with different life compositions, and histories, and teachers (including parents) created such a diverse classroom environment that not all styles were accommodated. To include everyone’s style in the classroom would be an accomplishment for any teacher, so this story is for all of them; you can “catch more bees with honey.” My whole purpose for writing this book is to reach every child through a medium they love: storytelling, to let them know they can focus on their inner strengths rather than their weaknesses, and I have found writing to be the utmost powerful tool to reach a host of children who need inspiration to believe in themselves. Was the journey hard? Did you have any help? What were some major obstacles? It has been a very interesting journey, and loaded with highs and lows. The creation of ‘Jus Plain Ole Daisy’ was SO much fun, though. I bought a black artists sketch book, and sat in a most comfortable chair in my living room, watching as the seasons came and went, year after year, simply allowing the pictures to run through my mind like a movie on the screen. I would write down and draw what I visualized, which was the fun part. It wasn’t even the rewriting and constant editing that became the challenge (thank goodness for word processing programs). The greatest test of all is being an unknown; without a track record, it is difficult to be recognized. What inspired you to write Elliot Finley’s Jus’ Plain Ole Daisy? Children, and how they feel about themselves, and how I felt about myself when I was young (I can identify). I admit Elliot’s character and I have similarities. I had problems focusing on subjects that did not interest me, just like Elliot. I sometimes felt I did not measure up in the classroom, and I know millions of other children in this world feel the same way. I want so much to inspire any child who feels the same to make it a lifelong journey to keep searching for the gift they have within. For many people, it is very difficult to get in touch with that gift, and hopefully, this book (and future series) will inspire them to keep their eyes and ears, and whole being tuned in. Jus Plain Ole Daisy - by Pamela M Hebert Any philosophies or quotes you live by that you would like to share with our readers? To quote my mother, who quoted her grandmother: “It doesn’t cost a cent to dream,” and trust me, I am a total advocate of (day) dreaming. If I could earn a living at it, I would be a happy camper! It often brings me peace in an increasingly stressful world. Any advice for aspiring writers? Write, write, write, and then reread and rewrite until you can find nothing wrong with your piece. Then, have someone else read it, and be open to his or her opinion. Where can our readers find our more about your work? On OakCourtPress.com showpieces the book with illustrations and passages, an interview with the author, and a learning guide to help develop vocabulary, with convergent and divergent thinking skill questions (that’s the teacher in me). There is a page with an upper level elementary science experiment as well. “Jus’ Plain Ole Daisy’ was designed for the elementary classroom. I always read a story prior to teaching a unit (in science, for example) as a “hook,” and I hope it will be used in every elementary classroom for the same (enjoyable) purpose. Someday, I would LOVE to channel some of the proceeds to the preservation of rainforests.
A broken but talented young girl whose mother suddenly disappears, a mystical, magical drawing book, a renegade shaman with terribly wicked intentions, and a gracious and highly protective dragon: such is the intriguing premise behind Elliot Finley's Strange and Inexplicable Events: Jus' Plain Ole Daisy.