PARAMOUNT – Harry Wirtz Elementary first-grade teacher Amber Bronder has always dreamed of becoming a children’s book author and, through the encouragement of her students and an adorable Goldendoodle, she recently published her first book, Penny the Pup’s Day at the Beach.
The book details the fictional adventures of Bronder’s real-life pet, Penny, as she gets separated from a wedding party at a local beach and must make it back before the ceremony begins.
The story is propelled by pictures of Penny’s mischievous antics on the beach.
“Being an elementary school teacher has given me a lot of inspiration and ideas both personally and professionally to finally pursue my dream,” Bronder said. “What better audience does an aspiring children’s book author have than her own class of bubbly and honest 6-year-olds.”
Bronder regularly shared pictures of the 8-year-old Penny with her students, who delighted in seeing the pet engaging in “real-life” scenarios such as driving a car, or wearing a sign that reads “Here Comes the Bride” as she walked down the aisle at Bronder’s actual wedding.
The wedding picture provided Bronder with the “aha” moment she needed to proceed with the writing of the book.
“My students seemed glued to my every word when I would talk about Penny,” Bronder said. “I started using Penny as examples for things we were learning.”
Bronder spent a year writing the book, taking pictures of Penny and studying up on self-publishing. The book was released Nov. 23, and is available through online book sellers Blurb.com and Amazon. There is also an Instagram page @_penny_the_pup.
Penny the Pup has proven to be useful in Bronder’s classroom as well. The story’s structure allows for Bronder’s students to practice putting story elements in sequential order, and the descriptive narrative and generous use of adjectives help teach beginning English grammar.
Bronder’s goal is to create a line of educational children’s books with Penny as the star, and she will naturally look to her students for more inspiration and story ideas.
“The best gift you can give to a child is the gift of literature,” PUSD Superintendent Dr. Ruth Pérez said. “I am so proud of how Ms. Bronder has managed to interweave her classroom lessons and enthusiasm for writing into the publication of this book.”