When Debi Novotny retired after twenty years as an early childhood educator, she missed teaching so much that she decided to find another avenue for educating kids and helping teachers. Turning her hand to authoring children’s books was a natural choice.
As a teacher, some of her students struggled with learning how to read. Her solution was to write a series of books that would entertain while helping them fine-tune their reading skills. In 2017, many of these stories were collected for her first published book, My Magic Hat Rules! It was followed by the sequel, My Magic Hat Goes to School! Kids love the rhythmic narration and whimsical illustrations.
Her third book, What Do You Do When the Couch Eats Your Shoe (and other things, too!) recently received the Second Prize in Children’s Literature by the Arizona Authors Association.
Her most recent book, Where Do Hearts Grow?, is a beautiful children’s picture book. The book started when she found a heart shape in a pine tree years ago. A few months later she found a heart shape inside of a watermelon and her collection of heart photos continued to grow. She has plans for a board book for infants with pictures of hearts found on animals.
Debi’s current work of love is a book about a little girl who has a wheelchair but imagines it as a spaceship for taking adventures. This book is close to Debi’s heart because of a time in her life when she was in a wheelchair. After being diagnosed with bone cancer in her thirties, her treatment included the removal of her femur bone and reconstruction. This left her in a wheelchair for an extended time.
“When I was in a wheelchair, I felt different from everyone else,” says Debi. “But I realized there were other things I had in common with people that did not make me so different after all. My experience gave me the idea for writing this book for kids.”
While Debi’s writing style is educational, it is also inspiring, fun, and filled with humor. She loves to do author visits to classrooms, libraries, and virtual events. She brings along costumes, props, and puppets to engage the kids.