Author Event

Next Saturday I’ll be participating in an author event in Grass Valley, CA.I’ll be reading from some of my books for children at 2:00 p.m. and other authors will read from their work during that afternoon.

I hope some people who read this post will come.

Here’s more information about the event:

Enjoy a cool, literary afternoon with local authors, snacks, and books on Saturday August 26th at the Open Book, 671 Maltman Drive in Grass Valley at 1pm.

Join Linda Horning reading from Buhari: A Family Odyssey in Nepal, Matt Powers reading from Ghosts of Manor House, Hock Tjoa reading from The Battle of Chibi, Lisa Redfern reading from Phases of Gage, Tim Murray reading from Thumar, Ken Harris reading from How Throckmorton Quattlebottom Became King of North San Juan, Shelley Buck reading from East, along with Ron Cherry, Janet Collins and more.

To learn more about each author and their work, please visit

Happy Hands

I don’t often post personal stuff on the internet, but today I can’t resist sharing that I got my license to have a home preschool in the mail.

Like the daycare home I had years ago in the Bay Area, the title will be Happy Hands, but this one will be mornings only.

I hope I can get enough kids to make it worth the investment. I’ve got lots of experience teaching in preschools, but working moms want care for full days.

However some stay-at-home moms will probably want to give their kids the advantage of a preschool education. Back when I was a substitute teacher I could see that kids who hadn’t attended preschool were at a disadvantage when they started Kindergarten.

If you know anyone in the Grass Valley area who might be interested, please send them my way.

Oh! Since this could be considered advertising I need to include my license number. It’s 293621983.


A nickname was originally an eke name.

Eke meant to add a little bit, such as to eke out something by getting just a little bit at a time. I guess the original eke names added something to the original names, like calling someone named John, Johnny.

But now lots of nicknames are shortened versions of names like Sue for Susan.

When I was a little toddler my mother called me Jannie-bug and my father called me Puddin’, but by the time I was preschool age I was just, plain Janet and stayed that way.

I wanted a nickname and suggested my parents call me Jan, but this was back in the 1940s and, because of World War II, everyone knew Jan was a boy’s name in Holland. (Of course they didn’t realize the J was pronounced like a Y is here.)

I suggested that I could be called Jenny, but that was the name of a mule in a comic strip, so nobody wanted to call me that.

In high school some of my friends gave each other nicknames like Bubbles, but nobody could think of a nickname for me, so I stayed just, plain Janet.

But the day I got married some people started calling me Jan, because the T and C in Janet Collins were awkward to pronounce together.

Unfortunately, today there are thousands of girls and women in the US called Jan.

In some groups where there’s another Jan they call me Janet, and in other groups where there’s another Janet they call me Jan. When e-mailing members I have to stop and think which name to use in my signature.

It’s embarrassing not to know my own name!

Does anyone else have that problem? What is your nickname?




I love little kids.

Actually, I love kids of all ages and have worked with most of them as a teacher, substitute teacher, etc. But I eventually came to realize preschoolers are my favorites to work with.

Kids in that age group are interested in almost everything, and most of them haven’t gotten into trying to be popular. They don’t hide their feelings or try to be like others, except for the adults and fictional characters they have as role models.

And they’re open to learning.

But the main reason I enjoy them is that they’re fun! They have active imaginations and love to discover new things.

I don’t know if any of the preschoolers I used to teach who are adults now remember me or anything I taught them, but the experiences they had back then have helped to shape who they are today.

And I’ll never forget them.

Childhood Books

As I mentioned in my last blog post, when I was a kid my parents read to us every night at bedtime.

I loved the Little Golden Books like The Pokey Little Puppy and the Mother Goose rhymes. Another of my favorites was the story of Ferdinand the bull. I wished I could hear all of the picture books every night, but we were each allowed to choose only one at each bedtime.

To my chagrin, my little brother wanted to hear The Animals of Farmer Jones every single night. I got so tired of hearing that book read over and over again!

As soon as I learned to read I began devouring books on my own. The first “big kid” book I actually owned was Heidi, but there were plenty of others to choose from in the local library.

I became a bookaholic at an early age, and never intend to get into recovery.

Did you enjoy books as a kid? Which ones do you remember?

Reading to Kids

I’ve written about this before, but it’s important enough to repeat.

Years ago I read about a study that tried to determine which method of teaching reading worked best.

The scientists interviewed the highest functioning students at some of the best universities in the country and discovered the only thing they had in common about learning to read was that their parents had read to them every day or night when they were little kids.

Besides helping prepare little ones to read and helping slightly older ones do so, there’s another advantage to reading to them. It helps to establish strong family ties.

I still remember my mother or father reading to us every night before we went to bed.

Did your parents read to you when you were a kid?

Do – or did – you read to your own kids?

Signs of Trouble

I don’t often talk about my own books here, but as the school year approaches I thought lots of kids and teachers might find one of my books helpful.

The title is Signs of Trouble  and it’s about kids with learning disabilities who get separated from their Special Ed  class on a field trip to a shopping mall.

The kids are able to use what they’ve learned about recognizing signs and following safety rules to get reunited with their class.

The book would be helpful for preschoolers and kids in early elementary school because it helps them learn how to be safe. It also helps them understand kids with Special Needs. And kids in Special Needs classes like to hear about other children like themselves.

There are educational activities at the end of the book.

And kids who read the story or hear it read to them usually like the cute pictures and think the ending is funny.

Signs of Trouble is available at online places like Amazon and local bookstores can order it.

Ten Sheep To Sleep

There are lots of books designed to help young kids learn to count, but this one stands out from the rest.

Nidhi Kamra uses a cute story about a little girl, Sammy Jo, who counts sheep to fall asleep, but too many sheep show up.

Eugene Ruble’s amusing illustrations do a great job of showing the many things Sammy Jo tries to do to make all the extra sheep go away.

And then … well, I hate to give away the ending, but this book is intended for kids too young to read this review anyway, so here it is: And then she realizes she can have the sheep pair up with the ten she always counts and use them to count by twos all the way up to twenty!

So, besides enjoying an amusing story, kids who have this book read to them will also learn a new skill, counting by twos.

Tamara Turtle’s Life So Far

I’ve always been tender hearted and I would have appreciated this book a lot if it had been available when I was a kid.

From the title, you can guess it’s about Tamara Turtle. She’s adopted as a cute pet when she’s a baby, but eventually grows so big she’s turned loose into a dangerous world to fend for herself.

By writing this book Regan W. H. Macauley has made it possible for kids to understand and sympathize with the many turtles who are in similar situations.

This book has a happy ending, and I hope it will help kids understand that it’s not a good idea to have turtles as pets, and maybe inspire some of them to check out the agencies listed at the back that help turtle rehabilitation.

The illustrations by Javier Duarte are excellent.

The Last Night of Summer

I loved reading The Last Night of Summer by Kevin Fontenot.

It’s about Christopher, who is worried about starting school in the morning.

He falls asleep and has an exciting dream.

In his dream he’s lost in a jungle far from home and he encounters various animals who help him. But they only guide him a little bit at a time and he has to face his fears and take all the important actions himself.

But is the adventure only a dream?

When he gets on the school bus the next morning … well, I won’t spoil the surprise by giving away what he discovers there.

The art work by Colin Throm is wonderful and captures the feeling of the story perfectly.

Any kid starting the school year, even if only changing grades, will enjoy this book.