Hudson Valley Parent

HVP August 2016

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Page 8 of 39 n Hudson Valley Parent 9 tive spin on things that come up at school. Point out the positives first, because that can help with some of the negatives." But for the most part, Pumpkin is based on herself. Like Faison-Crawford, Pumpkin's dad is in the army and her family moves around a lot so she's always the new kid in school. On Pumpkin's first day at Memori- al Park Elementary, she falls in with a group of girls who turn out to be a notorious gang of bullies. "One time, I began following along with some friends who were harassing this one girl and bullying her," she says. "We got in trouble, and my parents made it very clear that we're a Christian household and they didn't raise me that way. That following school year, that same girl we harassed [and] I became very good friends. After that, I became the person who would stick up for other people." Pumpkin, on the other hand, turns to her parents for advice right away - a trait that Faison-Crawford tries to instill in her own daughter. She says that one of her biggest challenges as a parent has been con- vincing Alex that, as crazy as it may I am a Hudson Valley Parent Glenda Faison-Crawford: Writing what she knows BY BRIAN PJ CRONIN G lenda Faison-Crawford of Newburgh dreamed of being a published author since she was in high school when she wrote romance stories for her friends to read, but a string of early rejections led her to put that dream on the back burner. Then she spoke to a friend of hers whose memoir had just been pub- lished. "My friend asked me how many times I had been rejected," Fais- on-Crawford recalls. "I told her about seven or eight times. She looked at me and said 'Try 43 times. So don't give up.'" Encouraged, Faison-Crawford began working on new material. Her first book, The Adventures of Pumpkin Jackson, was published last year by Welstar Publications and is aimed at tween readers. "People always say 'Write what you know,'" Faison-Crawford says. "Well, my dad was in the army for 29 years, so I moved around a lot and had a lot of adventures." Fact into f iction Pumpkin Jackson, the 10-year-old female protagonist, is partially based on Faison-Crawford's 10-year-old daughter, Alex, as well as the many children that Faison-Crawford has met working as a teaching assistant in the Newburgh school district's elementary schools for 17 years. "Working at school and becom- ing a mother, I see what little kids go through," she says, "especially little girls. I see how they fuss about things that seem so huge to them. I try to teach them to put a posi- seem, she was once a child, too, and she struggled with the exact same issues that Alex and her friends do. "I try to let her know that Mom- my's been down this path before, and you're going to be ok," she says. "Although, I have to laugh, because I remember that my mother had to say the same thing to me, so now I'm getting it back." Not just for kids As a mom and a teacher, she'll never run out of inspiration. "I see kids today always argu- ing, fighting, and even hurting one another," she says. "So the next one's about how to communicate with someone you don't get along with or agree with." As to how she manages to juggle parenting, teaching, and writing, Faison-Crawford says that she prior- itizes. "I just put in the work whenever I can," she says. Unlike her husband, Vince, an Air Force veteran who prefers quiet when he's trying to concentrate, she says she's learned to tolerate what- ever distractions she has to deal with in order to write, even if it's a noisy TV. But there are other advantages for being a writer who works in edu- cation besides the endless sources of inspiration. With summer in full-swing, her family considers the break a time for calmer activities. "I'm looking forward to really having time to dive into working on the next book," she says. Brian PJ Cronin is a freelance writer whose work appears through- out the Hudson Valley. "My friend asked me how many times I had been rejected. I told her about seven or eight. She said 'Try 43 times.'"

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