Today we’d like to introduce you to Kambrya Pettit.
Hi Kambrya, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstory with our readers?
In first grade, I hated “reading practice” at school.
And it felt so pointless. I just wanted to get to the “real” reading.
I wanted stories. I wanted imagination.
Over the years, those thoughts stuck like crayons on Arizona car upholstery. Fast forward several decades:
– I graduated with my degree in Early Childhood Development with honors.
– I had had eight children and had lived all over the world. (Leading me to the firm opinion that parents need simplicity. And chocolate.)
– And I had written and published several children’s books, with a middle-grade series in the works.
My PLAN was to write and publish the middle-grade series. THEN make a reading program semi-related to it later.
Plans change. 🙂
A little over a year ago, when I was living in Bavaria, I realized that if I spent my 40th birthday money on some supplies, I could create my reading program right away.
So after rearranging my brain to match this revelation, I jumped right in.
It’s been fun. And wild. And freezing cold. And hilarious.
I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
I don’t think anyone has a smooth road to worthwhile goals.
In 2006, I had inspiration for a middle-grade book series. I was standing on my grandma’s porch, watching the sky over Bear Lake, Utah. At the time, I was a mother of two – and I wisely decided to give myself 10 years to write down all my book notes and ideas before writing.
Life exploded for a while: Husband’s grad school. Babies. Heartache. Bats. Adventures. And lots of moves. All while taking notes and gathering ideas.
2016 came. It was time to write. First I wrote a hideous draft of the middle-grade book I wanted to release. Edited it like crazy. And realized I wanted to start smaller – and on the right foot. I contacted an amazing editor about my idea for Ursula the Ugly Unicorn, an unrelated book I would write and illustrate to raise money for Operation Underground Railroad.
To earn money for professional editing (and really, some education), I started writing picture books for an educational company in China. (Write so I could write – why not?) I had a readership of over 300,000 children. I wrote over 30 books in very short spurts of time. For example, in one week I created eight 3rd-grade readers within given requirements: A theme, several specific curriculum points, with at least 25 words that had to be worked into the story for vocabulary purposes. I also provided page-by-page directions for the illustrators, activities, and book outlines. I also edited other authors’ work. This was also during the week I moved my family from Okinawa to South Korea. It was crazy, but I drew myself a motivational cat poster and got through it.
I could probably use that poster right now, as we’re in the middle of yet another move and I’m wrapping up a 130-book reader series I began in Bavaria. The poster’s in a box somewhere now floating in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.
Yes. We’ve moved a lot. More than 20 times in the last 20 years. In those moves, we have lived on every continent in the Northern Hemisphere. For the last seven years, my husband has been teaching biology courses to the military and their dependents: We have moved wherever his classes have been needed. We spent two years in Japan, two in Korea, and three in Germany. Before that, we traipsed about Arizona, Texas, Idaho, and Utah (as well as our first stint together in Korea). This has brought our family a broad spectrum of experiences and friends. I wouldn’t change it.
So why are we here in Utah?
My husband is completely changing careers – from an award-winning college professor and bat biologist to training to eventually take over a catering business. It felt like the right thing to do. Still does. Crazy, right?
Not really. It feels peaceful. Plus being near family is amazing.
Wild experience has taught me that you can’t go wrong when you follow the first peaceful feelings you have about something.
Follow the peace. Not the “safe” and “don’t try anything new” feelings: The feeling like you just ate a warm and delicious cookie from your sweet great-grandma while she’s hugging you and telling you everything is going to be okay…feeling. And when the opposition comes after that peaceful feeling (It will.), remember the first, peaceful feeling and keep moving forward.
You can’t mess this up. Because mistakes are learning opportunities.
Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I love telling stories. I especially love when people know how to read my stories.
So I made a free reading lesson book; Sprouty Kids Finger Trails – An Easy Path to Reading. ( https://kambryapettit.ck.page/freereadinglessonbook )
It’s frustrating how many popular reading programs don’t consider decades of reading research, children’s interests and attention spans, and the teacher’s/parents’ need for simplicity.
This reading book is research-based. It’s clear and fun. It’s easy for the teacher (open-and-go). And it’s easy for the student (small segments, clear goals, playful, a dyslexic-friendly font). Paired with the adorably hilarious reader collections, kids have an immediate reason and use for each concept they learn.
The collections, along with a handful of practice workbooks, will continue to be released quickly before the summer is out – so parents, teachers, librarians, grandparents, and anyone else needing them can have them for the new school year.
Later, I plan to release videos about reading readiness, how I made the little action figures, how to make Sprouty Kids toys, and any other things people who love young readers may be interested in.
Back to those readers (my current releases): Each reader book is beautifully illustrated with photographs I took out in Bavaria. EVEN when it was cold (I hate being cold. You can see me wearing one of my kids’ bunny hats in one of these pictures). I think that’s what I’m most proud of: I’m moving forward despite the cold, the intercontinental move, medical emergencies, writing my other books, navigating life for a family of 10, and fifty handfuls of other complications.
What has been the most important lesson you’ve learned along your journey?
Life is about relationships.
- Free Reading Lesson Book: https://kambryapettit.ck.page/freereadinglessonbook
- Free Sprouty Kids Poster: https://kambryapettit.ck.page/94c342d4f2
- Ursula the Ugly Unicorn – usually 12.99 (on sale right now for less) https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07BT2K3FC
- Sprouty Kids Progressing Reader Series – from 12.99 to 27.75 – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09L5WH6T1
- Sprouty Kids Finger Trails – An Easy Path to Reading (If you don’t want to print it out yourself) – 45.99 hardcover & 28.99 softcover – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09TYM79NM
- Website: http://kambryapettit.com/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kambryapettit/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KambryaPettit
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/kambryapettit
- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwa4fGnKcHmmopaOH5Zl_-g
- Other: https://www.amazon.com/Kambrya-Pettit/e/B07BT1WM6C