Monday, February 13, 2012

Book Signing Fun

Hello Friends!

For some reason, will not let me make posts on my IPAD, so i am having to do this on my laptop. Bear with me.

Thursday night was a fun night for Michelle and I. We both got to participate in The Little Lighthouse Resource Fair. The staff is so nice there. Michelle and I both concluded that we would like to volunteer for them someday. We only sold two copies of the book, but you know what? That is two more families that we reached that did not know about "I Sit In A Wheelchair...But I Will Be Okay" that did not know about he book before. That in itself is a blessing. We also dircted people to as well as You can review our work on those two sites.

Now, for the big news......... Michelle's drawings for the second book is almost complete. It hs been a long time, and I know you all are patiently waiting. Thank-you It takes time for a great artist like Michelle to do her work. We hope to find a publisher as well as publish the secomnd book in the seies by the end of this year.

Please keep readiing. Thanks everyone!

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Little Lighthouse Tulsa, OK

Hello one and all!

Happy New Year! I have made a lot of resolutions as far as writing goes. One resolution is to keep this blog updated. I will try to do this every two weeks. The truth is, there is not much going on in the Penny Brown world right now. However, Michelle and I are looking forward to good things as far as "I Sit In A Wheelchair...But I Will Be Okay."

One thing that has us excited is we wil both go to th Little Lighthouse on Feb. 9th and sign books as a part of The Little Lighthouse Resource Fair. This is a great preschool for children with special needs. (And, i am not just saying that because I went there a LONG time ago) However, the staff and volunteers really care about the kids. Michell and I are excited to sign boks. The event begins at 6:00 P.M. Feb. 9th. I Sit In A Wheelchair....But I Will Be Okay will be on sale for $10.00 and we will autograph it for you.

And, as alwas, we do like to speak at schools and other venues, so please feel free to contact us,

Hope to see you at The Little Lighthouse in Tula, Oklahoma on Feb. 9th.

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Troublemaker

This is a short story for a contest that I am participating in. Hope you like it!

The Troublemaker
My first impression of Phillip was that he was blessed with ignorance. He arrived earlier on Tuesday morning, transferring from Meadowbrook Middle School in Arkansas to Lincoln Middle School in Oklahoma. Phillip had only been in my third period English Lit class for twenty minutes; but I knew he was going to become my most difficult student

Phillip sat in the back row with his brown hair in a ponytail and long bangs. I handed Phillip a copy of Pride and Prejudice. He took it and glanced at the cover with distaste. Have you ever read Pride and Prejudice, Phillip? I asked.

“ Mrs. Hodges, I ain’t never heard of the book!” Phillip declared loudly to the entire class. Several students erupted into a fit of giggles.

“Who knows.” That boy probably hasn’t even read an entire book in his whole life.” Kyle Porter teased softly.

“Class, be quiet!” I said sharply. The noise died down to a small roar. Phillip shoved the book aside. “I don’t got no use for books like this” He declared.

“I’m sorry you feel that way Phillip. Maybe you will change your mind as we start reading it.”

“I doubt it.” Phillip mumbled.

What was with this kid? I wondered silently. There is always one student who comes into my classroom each year who seems more challenging than the rest. It looked like I had my work cut out for me with Phillip.

The rest of the hour passed by quickly. Before I knew it, the bell had rung. “Be sure and read the first seventy-five pages before class tomorrow. Come prepared to discuss the assignment.”
A collective groan could be heard throughout the room as the students arose to leave. My blue eyes darted toward Phillip as I watched him walk out the door. He wore blue jeans that had several visible rips along the seams. Phillip’s green tee shirt also had a small hole in the left shoulder. Kids like him usually spelled T-R-O-U-B-L-E.

Phillip became the topic of many conversations around school that day. Students stared at Phillip as if he were from a foreign planet instead of another state. Teachers didn’t know what to make of him. A group of seventh and eighth graders were huddled near the teacher’s lounge whispering as I walked by.

“I bet Phillip shops at that Goodwill store downtown. Did you get a load of what he was wearing today?” whispered Cassie Waters.

“Hey, maybe we should call Phillip a Holy Roller! Jerome Michael’s joked.

“His clothes would fit that description!” Kyle Porter whispered.

Pretending not to hear their rude comments, I quickly pushed open the teacher’s lounge door to find more of the same remarks coming from several teachers. “Wow! What a piece of work Phillip is.” Mrs. Adams, the History teacher said. “He doesn’t like to work, that’s for sure.”

“Tell me about it!” Mr. Grimes, the Science teacher moaned. “I asked Phillip to dissect a frog in the lab, and he refused.

“Phillip won’t play basketball in Gym.” Coach Caldwell announced. “He is a lazy bum!”

It seemed the teacher’s assessment of Phillip were worse than the kids’. It made me disgusted that people would treat a new student like this. “Okay, Phillip does have faults, but that doesn’t mean that he can’t learn” I spoke up quietly.

All the teachers sat in silence, shaking their heads.

Most all my students came to class on Wednesday morning with a copy of Pride and Prejudice. However, I should have known Phillip wasn’t prepared.

“Gee Mrs. Hodges, I left my book at home” Phillip said. “I guess that means I can’t follow along with the class.

I sighed. Something told me this wasn’t the only excuse Phillip used to get out of doing his homework. “For today, pull your desk over beside Brian’s and you two can share…”I paused before adding, “try not to let it happen again Phillip.”

He looked at Brian without a care in the world. “Sorry Mrs. Hodges.” Phillip said.

At least Phillip apologized. His organizational skills were terrible; yet, Philip’s manners were great. My class discussed their own interpretations of the main characters. Some students participated fully in the discussion while others remained silent, yet attentive. However, Phillip didn’t fit either description, as I caught him staring out the window.

“Earth to Phillip.” I said, after asking him a question.

No response was given. Phillip sat still, looking out the window in silence. Several students giggled.

I walked over to his desk. “Phillip, Who was the youngest Bennett daughter? “

Phillip turned toward me with a blank look on his face. “The kid must be deaf, Mrs. Hodges!” Kyle Porter teased.

I gave Kyle a stern look. “That’s enough! One more remark, and you will be in detention, Kyle”

“Sorry,” Kyle mumbled sheepishly.

The bell rang just then. The students arose from their chairs chattering to one another. “Class, please read pages 75-150 for tomorrow. Have a good day.”
I was going to ask Phillip to stay after class, but he made a rather hasty exit. He was gone before I could talk to him. I sighed. Oh well, tomorrow is another day.

Later that day, I walked down the hall to the office where I turned in my attendance sheets. Upon entering, I saw Phillip sitting in the reception area.

“Hello Phillip!” I said.

He mumbled something unintelligible. “What are you doing here?”

Phillip narrowed his dark eyes. “Hey, lay off okay, lady!” Phillip declared.

Phillip is one angry kid. I thought. Before I could say any more, Mr. Anderson came out his office. “You can come in now, Phillip. First, please apologize to Mrs. Hodges.”

Phillip’s eyes were downcast as he mumbled the apology. “Sorry, Mrs. Hodges.”

He marched into the office along with Mr. Anderson without another word. The school secretary Rhonda suddenly became busy with paperwork, but I knew she had listened to the exchange between us. I was never one to start gossip; however, Phillip intrigued me. He displayed nice manners sometimes. However, Phillip’s attitude needed a major makeover.
Rhonda knew I was watching her. “So,” she began, cracking her gum loudly, “Do you want to know what I heard about this kid.”

I shook my head. “Well, I don’t listen-"

“This is not a rumor!” she said hotly. “I overheard Phillip’s grandmother tell Mr. Anderson Phillip had been kicked out of three different schools before he came to Lincoln. For fighting, swearing, AND smoking.” She emphasized.

“But, Phillip is a nice kid” I argued.

“Mrs. Hodges”, Rhonda pointed out gently. Nice kids don’t get called to the principal’s office for smoking in the boy’s bathroom? Do they?

Before I could answer, Mr. Anderson’s door opened, and Phillip came out, looking disgusted. “Rhonda, can you send a memo to Phillip Barker’s teachers, and ask them to send all of his class assignments for tomorrow to Mrs. Spencer? Our friend Phillip is going to spend the day thinking about what he did during ISS.

‘Yes sir.” Rhonda answered.

I turned to leave as Phillip sat down in the chair again, probably waiting for a ride home. I saw Phillip glance at me as I started out the door. The look he gave me was a mixture of disgust, embarrassment and fear. Phillip got caught at something he knew wasn’t right. The fear came from what was going to happen to him. Was Phillip afraid of being disciplined at home? I didn’t know. However, I saw something else in Phillip’s dark eyes. They seemed to be pleading, Help me.

My English Lit students seemed relieved when I called roll on Thursday morning. Phillip didn’t answer, of course. This made the others guess as to where he was.

“I heard that he got busted yesterday!” Randy Thompson announced.

“Oh yeah.” This information piqued Jill Lawson’s interest. “What for?”

“Well, Principal Anderson went to the john yesterday, and when he came out, the air smelled of smoke. There sat Phillip puffing a cigarette” Randy responded.

“Wow!” Kyle Porter put in, shaking her head.

“Well,” Katherine Ramsey said, “I hope Phillip learns his lesson, wherever he is. I went without lunch all day yesterday!” she exploded. The boy took all my lunch money!”

“Katherine!” I exclaimed. “Why didn’t you come and tell me or another teacher?” I asked, feeling badly for her.

“Mrs. Hodges,” Katherine explained patiently. I didn’t want to be a tattletale.

“Don’t worry Katherine.” Kyle said. “I will beat him up.”

Teachers hear different types of conversations among their students. Kyle’s comment was one I wish that I hadn’t heard. “Kyle, violence is not the answer,” I said.

“What is?” Kyle retorted.

“Phillip is a loser!” Randy said.

Well, that is when we have to see the good in Phillip. Everyone has a good side somewhere.” I told the class. “Now, let’s begin today’s lesson…”

Despite his absence, I couldn’t get Phillip out of my mind the rest of the day. How can I help Phillip? I was going to have to come up with a plan before he found himself in trouble again.
By the time I arrived at school Friday morning, I had an idea concerning Phillip. Rhonda said he had a grandmother. I realized that Mr. Anderson had probably talked to her concerning the boy’s bathroom incident. However, I called Rose Barker in for a chat about her grandson myself. Rose was a nice woman in her mid-sixties with flaming red air and blue-green eyes. She looked sad while apologizing for Phillip’s behavior. As Rose continued talking, I began to understand the reason for Phillip’s obnoxious behavior. His mother died from lung cancer when Phillip was ten, and his father left Phillip when he was two. Rose had also lost her husband two years before in a car accident. It was no wonder Phillip was acting out. The boy was grieving for the family he had lost, even though Rose gave him all the love and attention that he needed. So, I offered to help Phillip with his work a couple of times a week after school, hoping that would solve the problem.
Some teachers can work miracles. I hoped that would prove true with Phillip.

By the time third hour rolled around, I was anxious to carry out my plan with Phillip. The students were chatting and laughing with one another as the bell rang, singling the start of class.

“Good morning everyone!” I said brightly.

Everyone was still talking. “Okay, place all books, notes, and binders on the floor. It is time to see how much you know about Pride and Prejudice. We are having a quiz.” I announced.
That got the class’ attention quickly. The students exchanged panicked looks with each other.
“If you have been paying attention, you will do just fine” I said calmly, placing a piece of paper on each student’s desk. Now, turn your papers over and begin.” I instructed.

The only sound that could be heard from then on were pencils scratching against paper. I walked around the room, and noticed Phillip had dropped his pencil. I bent over to pick it up. As I handed it back to him, I saw that Phillip’s eyes had wandered over to Kyle Porter’s desk across the isle. “Okay boys, that will be enough.” I took both of their papers away.”

“Hey! What did I do?” Kyle exclaimed.

“Yeah! Why did you do that?” Phillip asked.

“It looked to me like you were copying off Kyle’s paper Phillip, and Kyle, you are just as guilty for having the paper in plain sight.”

“I didn’t even know he was looking at my paper!” Kyle stood up from his chair with his fists balled in Phillip’s direction.

I knew I needed to do something before Kyle’s temper exploded. “Okay boys, both of you come with me. You two can make up this test after school in my room. For now, let’s step into the hallway.

“No fair Mrs. Hodges. I’ll miss basketball practice.” Kyle said angrily.

“Maybe you should have thought of that before letting Phillip look off your paper. Let’s go boys.”
. I marched the boys to the front of the room, leaving the rest of my shocked students to finish the quiz. “I’ll be right back. Mrs. Adams will come in shortly, so don’t any of the rest of you try to cheat.”

Once Mrs. Adams was inside my room, I was left to deal with one angry boy in the hallway. However, I noticed that Phillip was unusually quiet. Did he actually understand the seriousness of cheating? “Okay guys, I want to hear the truth. Phillip, were you trying to copy off Kyle’s paper?”

Phillip was silent for a moment, looking down at the holes in the knees of his jeans as he spoke.
“Well”, I said putting my hands on my hips. “Were you?”

Phillip glanced at me. “Yes, Mrs. Hodges.”

I put my hands on my temples. Phillip had messed up again. “Why Phillip? Didn’t you know it was wrong?”

In answer, Phillip shrugged his shoulders

Meanwhile, Kyle mumbled to himself

“Kyle, that’s enough. Go back to class, and I will see you in detention this afternoon. Maybe it will teach you to hide your paper for another person’s view.”
Kyle opened the door mumbling. After it closed, I said, “Phillip, that is an interesting statement. Mr. Anderson is a fair man who goes over the handbook with each new student.”

I saw Mr. Anderson walking down the hall just then. “Here he comes now. I am just going to ask him.”

“Go ahead, see if I care.” Phillip responded.

“Do we have a problem here, Mrs. Hodges?” Mr. Anderson asked.
“Well, Phillip claims hat he didn’t know the rules about cheating on a test. I caught him copying off Kyle Porter’s paper.”

“But, Mrs. Hodges” Phillip protested. “Kyle made it look so easy, and that kid has been bugging me ever since I came here, trying to get me in trouble nearly every day.”

“Mrs. Hodges,” Mr. Anderson interrupted. Phillip did know the rules. I explained them to him and his grandmother, and I also emphasized that cheating would not be tolerated.”
“I think Phillip and Kyle are both going to spend some time with me in detention this afternoon. Mr. Anderson, Will you call Phillip’s grandmother and let her know.”

‘I’d be happy to” Mr. Anderson said as he walked away.

Okay, I need to ask you one more question. If Kyle or anyone else was bothering you, why didn’t you come and tell me?”

Phillip looked at me with sad eyes. “ I didn’t want to be a tattle-tale. That wouldn’t be any good way to make friends.” It was the same answer Katherine had given me a few days before.
On one hand, my heart went out to Phillip. It was tough being the new kid, trying to fit in. However, he still had to suffer the consequences. I sighed. “I will see you after school.”

I was grading papers just after the last bell had rang when a knock sounded at my door. Looking up, I saw Phillip standing in the doorway.

“Come in Phillip and take a seat” I said digging out a blank quiz from a stack on my desk.

He sat down, but didn’t appear ready to work. “Mrs. Hodges, Can I talk to you before I start.
I nodded. “Sure Phillip, go ahead.”

“Before Kyle gets here, I just wanted to say that I’m really sorry for cheating on the quiz this morning. It was wrong, and I knew it.”

“That is a nice apology Phillip, but why did you cheat?”

Phillip looked down at his hands. Well, um two reasons really. First, I have trouble making friends. I have been to three different schools, and with each one, I try hard, but everyone thinks of me as the new kid. I don’t have a chance. I figured if I cheated, Kyle and the others would think I was cool.”

I sighed. “Nothing is “cool” about cheating Phillip. Look where it got you.”

“I know. But, I’m used to being in trouble, so it doesn’t bother me.”

Well, it bothers me Phillip. You are a smart boy if you would just use your brains for good instead of trying to get in trouble all the time.”

He looked up at me again. “I’m not smart Mrs. Hodges.” Phillip declared.
“Why do you say that?” I asked.

He seemed to be at a loss for words. “I-I-I can’t r-r-read” he stuttered.

I gasped. This was news to me. “Is that why you won’t participate in class discussions, or read the book?”

He nodded sheepishly. “I tried to read the book, honest I did. But, the words were too hard. I didn’t want to speak up because I am too embarrassed to ask for help. The kids would laugh at me. Everyone else knows how to read. You are one of the nicest teachers I have ever met.

Teachers at my other school would pass me just to get me out of their classes.”

I walked over to Phillip’s chair, and knelt down in front of him. “You know, I met your grandmother this morning. She came to see me because she was concerned. Does Grandma know you can’t read?”

“I don’t think so. She knows I don’t like to do homework though.”

I smiled. What kid in his right mind actually liked homework. Well, I think that I can help you out Phillip. What would you say, if I offered to tutor you a few days a week on your reading skills? No one would have to know.

He sat quietly, mulling the idea over. “Would you do that for me?”

“Sure! I said. Phillip, would you like school if you knew how to read?”

“Yes.” He responded.

I smiled again. Phillip was really a nice kid who wants to do the right thing, but sometimes finds that hard because of his academic situation. “I dug around on my desk for a phone number that I knew would help Phillip. “Phillip, I said unearthing a piece of paper from my grading pile, “Have you ever heard of a place called Sylvan Learning Center?”

He shrugged. “I’ve seen it on television. Why?” He asked.

I handed him the paper with the phone number on it. “I thought you might consider going there for tutoring a couple days a week.

He took the paper with a red face. “Gee, Mrs. Hodges, I don’t know.” He hedged.

No one would have to know about that either. Take a few days and think about all this.” I encouraged. “For now, let me read that quiz to you…”

Over the next few days, Phillip seemed a little hesitant, but more eager than before to participate with the work. He tried to respond to questions with the rest of the class. Phillip even stopped by my class during lunch one day and knocked on my door.

“Mrs. Hodges,” he said. “Can I come in”

“Sure” I responded. “What can I do for you?”

“Well, I was wondering…That is…Grandma and I were talking…"

“Yes Phillip” I asked encouragingly.

“Can you help me make that phone call” he asked timidly.

“Of course” I said warmly. “Thank you for trusting me to help you.”

“It’s better than being labeled a troublemaker, isn’t it?”

My first impression of Phillip is that he was blessed with ignorance. However, with a little help, I had a feeling that Phillip was going to succeed in life.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Latest Penny Brown News

H.K Gilbert and SPBA

Hello everybody! I am so happy at this moment. "I Sit In A Wheelchair....But I Will Be Okay has been getting som attention in the past few weeks. First, on October 4th, a nice lady named H.K. Gilbert posted a very nice review over "I Sit In A Wheelchair....But I Will Be Okay. In fact, this review brought tears to my eyes. Mrs. Gilbert is a blogger from Louisiana. To read the interview in it's entirety, please go to Click on my blogs to read the interview. Mrs. Gilbert writes children's books based on Barkley the Secret Service Dog. other piece of news concerning Penny Brown is the SBPRA (Strategic Book Publishing Rights Agency) featured Michelle and I as an Author Success Story. Please go to stories, and read the article entitled Brittany Crawford and The Special Olympics.

Michelle and I would like to thank each of you for sticking with us, and supporting "I Sit In A Wheelchair....But I Will Be Okay." I feel very blessed to meet people who still enjoy the book, even though it has been out for almost two years. We have not abandoned Penny by any means. Michelle is taking her time, making sure her illustrations are picture perfect for Penny's second adventure. We also are exploring our publishing options at this time. So, please continue to be patient with us.

As aways, Michelle and I are eager to speak to schools, churches or anyone who will listen about Penny Brown. If you are interested in having us come speak or sign books at your even, please contact Brittany Have a good day.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Some Exciting News!!!!!!

Hello! How is everybody? For some reason, I can't get my blog entries to post on anymore, so i hopethis works. The following ntry has nothing to do with Penny Brown we are still wooking on the seconmd book. Finding a publisher who is a ight fit for us takes time and patience, so please, just bear with us.

While waiting on Michelle to finish drawing and in between trying to find publishers for book #2, I decided to pursue some of my own writing. Las wek, I was surfing the web, when I came across Readers . They were holding a contest entitled "Your Life in 15 Words or Less." I thought about this for quite awile. Most of my life experieinces come from taking cae of my Gradmother with Alzheimer's Disease. Grandma and I battled this togetherfor six years, as caregiver and caregivee. A lot of this was sad. I was often strssed beyond belief, and there were some funny moments too.

I wrote a story for Readers Digest called "Dream....Believe...Acieve." The story is about the time Grandma lost her detures. Sandy (our caregiver) tried to help us find them. She even looked in the trah can. By the end of the day, I was beginnig to loose hope that we would ever find them. I also began to pray because I knew dentures would be more than either Grandma or I could afford. Sandy had looked in a blue cup that Grandma left sittingon the counter. No dentures. The next morning as I was getting rady to call the dentist, Granma found the issing dentures in the same cup Sandy had looked in the day before. The inscriptionon the cup read Dream....Believe....Achieve.

I submitted this story to Reader Digest last wek. By Friday, I recieved ane-mail frmo the editors saying , "Your Story has Captured our attention." Unbelievable!!!!! The story is posted on Facebook.

I am asking all of you who might read this to go "Like" Readers Digest on Facebook. Then, go to the contest tab on the left side of the page. Ten type Brittany in the search for entries. Click Dream....Believe...Achieve in the searchbox, and read it and vote. I am in the running for cash prizes. Thanks in advance.

Some Unexpected Weekend Sales

WOW!!!!! Ithas been a long time since I updated this blog. I am ver sorry about that. The truth is....there has not been much going on in the Penny Brown wold lately. Michelle is working hard on illustrating the second book in The Peny Brown Series. While I m hesitant to reveal the title, I will tell everyone that a member of Penny Brown's family deals with a serious illnss. The second book is lose to my heart, and I am excited about it.

With that being said Michelle and I are also looking in to publishers. We love Strategic, but wanted to explore all the options open to us If anyone has self-published a book, it can be difficult to get into the different venue to sell that book. So, currently, I am researching publishers to determine the right fit for Penny Brown.

I was excited because I sold two books in Pryor, Oklahoma two weeks ago. I leared that it pays to have copies of books with you at all times, even if you don't expect to sell anything, someone may surprise you.

As always, we are loking for plaes to read and sign copies of the wheelchair book. If someone would like to host an event for us, please contact me at

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Life is Hard Sometimes...But I Will Be Okay

Hello everybody!

Is everyone enjoying the hot weather? I don't know about you all, but I am ready for some rain. It's too hot to do anything outside, and the Oklahoma kids are going back to school this week. Michelle is starting a new job in addition to her illustrations she is doing for me. Michelle's Mom is going back to workl. I will focus more on my writing. Tomorrow will be a brand new begining for all of us in this house.

Writing is more than just writing. I also research places to advertise about Penny Brown. Last week, I responded to an ad from the Reporter Connection. Mrs. Yvonne Wu is the CEO of a blog/magazine called Women Connect. It spotlights reviews about books, music, fashion, and she has a section devoted to children's books. I sent her an e-mail, explainng about Penny Brown, so told me to write an article, and she would publish it. I am pleased to say the article is featured on her site Women Connect. Follow this link: Please Click on the Children's books tab to read it. Please share with me your thoughs about the article.

I love doing interviews, so if anyone knows anybody who is looking for a children's author to interview, I would be interested. Please feel free to contact me.

Gotta go.......Think i hear my pen calling me. Until next time, stay cool.