From an early age, story-telling and drawing had a big influence on Rossmoor resident Rozanne Willams. She remembers her father and grandfather telling her stories about the old country, after her grandparents had emigrated from Poland around 1913-14.
Her early experiences were drawing and creating comic books that her uncle, a fifth grade teacher, would share with his students. Williams would eventually go into teaching herself and after leaving the classroom, she went back into writing. Instead of comics, she began writing resource books, designed as student workbooks for early elementary grades students.
One of her books, “The Coin Counting Book,” taught kids the value of coins, and how many various coins it took to add up to a dollar, for example. Recently, Williams moved back into story type books, but still in the theme of money. Her latest six-book series tell stories designed to help young children learn basic concepts of money. It’s called the “Financial Literacy for Kids,” series.
“This takes everything a step further,” Williams said of the new series.
Rather than workbooks that help young students learn letter writing, or basic math, the new series are books that tell stories about starting a business or earning money. Characters in the book, Cat and Dog, often in this case, learn about budgeting money by understanding wants versus needs and how to go about starting a business. While the concepts are adult, the books keep things simple for young students and give them a basic understanding.
Williams began her teaching career in Los Angeles and even taught in Germany at the Department of Defense American School. She mostly taught third grade, but early on in her career she decided to create her own classroom materials and much as possible. One of those resource books was designed to inspire students to write.
That book was eventually picked up by her friend and mentor Terry Garnholz, who was a senior editor at Educational Insights. The book was expanded into a three-book series for publication and Williams was off on a new track.
These days she mostly writes for Creative Teaching Press in Cypress. Much of her work encompasses themes such as family, maps or science, but the financial literacy series is a venture into more of a mass market work for her. They are still designed for emergent readers, but they teach in a new way that most of her prior work didn’t.
“This is a new format for me,” Williams said.
While the Financial Literacy Series are more like story books, they still focus on key words for understanding and offer activity tips for students or readers to follow up. Williams’ first love was art. The book “Charlotte’s Web,” hooked her on reading. Her next love could be writing stories to teach.
For more visit rozannewilliams.com.