Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Former Miss FAMU Authors Children's Book About Learning Disability

When Florida A&M University (FAMU) alumna and former Miss FAMU Stephanie Evans first began teaching, she said she found several students who lacked enthusiasm about reading. In an effort to give students a new outlet, she authored her first book, “Steven James: I Just Can’t Pay Attention.”

“I have always loved to read,” said Evans, a fourth grade teacher at Fairview Elementary School in Miramar, Fla. “I especially like reading fiction books. Fictional books allow readers to let their imaginations run wild. I want to be able to give students the same interest that I have by writing books that are relatable.”

In the book, the title character, Steven James, is having the worst day of his life. He gets all of the answers wrong on his homework, misplaces things and struggles in class. James, like many of today’s youth, suffers from Attention Deficit with Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). The book targets children ages 6 to 8 years old.

“My older brother, Stephon, suffered from this disorder,” said Evans, who was raised in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. “I witnessed the many struggles he faced at school and at home. There was no outlet for him. Also, when I began my career as a teacher, I had several students who were facing the same problems as my brother. As a teacher, I come across a plethora of children’s books. I have never seen a book targeted for children such as my brother. I want to serve as an advocate for children like Stephon and the students I teach.”

Evans said the best part of her job is inspiring students.

“They look at teachers in a different light. Every day I remind myself that I am a role model to the students at my school. Now that I am a published author, my students hold me to an even higher standard. I read the book to my students immediately after I received the first copy of my book. They were so proud of my accomplishment. They think that I am a celebrity now, so they asked if I was going to continue to be their teacher. Several of them have bought copies and some are saving their allowance to purchase a copy. It is a wonderful feeling to hear positive comments from my little critics.”

Evans earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from FAMU in the spring of 2007 and her master’s degree from Nova Southeastern University in the spring 2009. She served as the 2006-2007 Miss Florida A&M University.

“Attending Florida A&M University was one of the best decisions that I have ever made,” she said. “There is nothing like my esteemed university. While attending FAMU, I learned a lot of valuable knowledge from my peers. There were so many movers and shakers at the university while I was there. I was motivated by the goals that were being achieved by my fellow Rattlers. That motivation is ongoing because the alumni of FAMU are incomparable.”

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