Children's Book

The book I had to write

Despite having worked on multiple projects for MGM Springfield, this was a unique job. At this project, I captured the MGM Springfield HeadStart from dirt lot all the way through ribbon cutting. I shot the many, often local, tradespeople who worked tirelessly in both 100+ degree summer heat and during bitter New England storms. The construction team taught me the necessity of hand warmers on the days it was so cold my hands froze, and I could no longer operate my camera.

I truly enjoyed watching the entire process-though concrete pour, framing, plumbing, electrical, windows & solar panels installation. I also witnessed tears in the eyes of the teachers and staff who were able to finally provide care & education to the youngest in our community in this beautiful building. The idea that the creators and the inhabitants never meet felt like a loss.

At the time, my daughters were in preschool and elementary school. We would come to the job site because everyone loves to watch diggers! Through their eyes, I could not help but think I was capturing a story. It was a story about planning, working through problems, being a team, building places that are good for the earth, and taking pride in your efforts- even when it’s hard. Lessons that matter to children and adults- all through the story of building a school. My daughter thought the roof of the building looked “Ziggy-Zaggy” and we had a title! I could not NOT create this book.

In “Who Built My Ziggy-Zaggy School,” our preschool student, Tyeka takes the reader through building her school. Along the way, we see the actual photos of the teams that built the school. We see the actual architectural drawings, the wood frame being built, the solar panels on the roof, and landscapers installing shrubs beside the rain collection barrel. Readers will see the many individuals who work together to build their school. We use this as a jumping-off point, concluding with multiple construction-related activities and questions that spark additional conversations.

I was lucky to work with local artist Jill Kovalchik to illustrate our young narrator, Tyeka. We chose the name because Tyeka Robinson is one of the experienced carpenters I often saw on the job, mentoring other younger female carpenters. I happily introduced my daughters to her so they could see that girls build buildings.

Tewksbury, MA-based Graphic designer, Chris Mullins, was an integral contributor to the final book. Through layout and additional art, he combined the images with the written content to create a visual narrative and welcoming feel.

I recently saw the building full of children for the first time. We gave one of the 3-year-olds a preview of the book, and she tried to walk out the door with it. I think she thought the narrator in the book was her. I had to fight back the tears. I kept thinking, “Yes, yes, little one! This book IS about you!”


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"Who Built My Ziggy-Zaggy School?" in the news...

◦ Listed as one of the best engineering books for kids on “Little Bins for Little Hands

◦ Reminder Publications

Habitat for Humanity 


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