Chante Thomas is a twenty-five year veteran teacher in Shaker Heights, and has been writing children’s stories over the span of her career. But in 2018, she decided it was time to bring her stories to life and published her first book, "Where I’m From." The book tells the geographic story of five diverse children with roots in the United States, Africa and Asia.
The characters introduce themselves with a hometown factoid and something special about their heritage. When reading the story, one can’t help but feel a sense of pride about what makes them unique. Madhavi ends her story by asking the reader “Don’t you think I have the best of both worlds?”
HOW I GOT STARTED
Writing and publishing books for all ages has always been a dream of mine. It began 25 years ago after taking a survey course about children's literature. That started my love affair with writing and nurtured my dreams of becoming a published author.
At that time, I was not yet a mother and I had very limited experience in the classroom yet I remember thinking where are the books that have characters that look like me, my friends and family? I knew that we needed opportunities to see more diverse characters telling their stories.
WHY I WRITE
Stung by the writing bug.
The writing bug followed me everywhere and everywhere I went, I found a story. I wrote "Where I’m From" in 1997 but was unable to secure a publishing deal. Discouraged, I continued to write but for pleasure only, pushing aside my dream to be published.
Several things happened a few years ago that proved significant. While cleaning out my files, I stumbled upon my writing file. It was full of articles, manuscripts and the one rejection letter that I saved. I decided that it was time to make a decision about this writing dream that was taunting me because of it’s incomplete status.
I found an Illustrator
I committed to finding an illustrator, to finish a book, and to publish it. I met with illustrator Jen Price Davis who read the "Where I’m From" manuscript. We discussed my ideas for the characters and embarked on an amazing journey to bring this book to life.
I formed my own publishing company, BucketList Publishers, in 2018 as a vehicle to remind me that it is never too late to fulfill your dreams. Creating the company allows me to self-publish my stories and encourage others to tell their stories too. That same year I became a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated and completed my second book "Go to School Tommy!" and, best of all, I saw my youngest child start his kindergarten year!
I have other books waiting to be finished and I am so excited to share them with you!
From the desk of
As a mom, teacher, author, daughter, sister and cousin; I’ve always loved connecting with others by listening and sharing our unique experiences. It is my goal to provide enough information about a culture to inspire the reader to learn more and ultimately begin to explore what makes them special and unique.
Having read my stories aloud to children of all ages, it’s amazing to hear them share their own stories. Meeting the characters in the book helps students to think about geographic and cultural ways to describe where they live and who they are. We live in a multicultural, global society. By exposing young readers to relatable, diverse characters they begin to have an appreciation for those who are different and for sharing their own personal stories.
The independent reading level is second grade. However,my books are engaging to students in fourth through sixth grade. They can connect with the cultural and geographic connections in this book and use them as a template to begin writing their own stories.