By Ashley Benkarski
NASHVILLE, TN — Your dreams can manifest in unexpected ways, as long as you never give up on them.
That’s the sage advice offered by Victoria Green, whose love of the written word has led to poetry-writing and now a series of children’s books based around PJ, a kind and adventurous little boy inspired by her own son, Patrick Junior.
Green had been writing individual children’s books for about two decades when a team of creatives helped her focus the stories into a series, beginning with what is now PJ’s Jungle Adventure. Green credits Michael McBride, a local artist who illustrated the book; project manager Sedrik Newbern; and editor Linda Wolf with helping her focus the various books she’d written into a series focusing on the titular character of PJ.
Green’s first published book, PJ’s Jungle Adventure, follows the brave young PJ on a jungle adventure as he dreams, meeting animals and learning along the way. It’s available at Alkebu-Lan Images on Jefferson Street in Nashville and on Amazon.
An advocate for education and literacy, it’s no surprise Green is treading the path of a children’s book author— But that wasn’t where she thought her career would go. Years ago Green saw herself as a teacher, she said, and in some ways she still is, whether as a mother or as an author for children. “I’ve always had a love for children and education. It was something that was instilled in me.”
“Literacy, at an early age, develops confidence, self-assurance, belief in oneself,” she explained. “If you can read, write, communicate, you can go places.”
Green also had the opportunity to visit Brazil with Tuskegee University’s Dr. Rhonda Collier and Mrs. Deidre Thomas of Hoskins & Company for a panel discussion at Rio de Janeiro State University based around Afro-Brazilian children’s literature and Afro-American children’s literature this past July, cementing her status as an international children’s book author.
A Tennessee State University alumna, Green studied elementary education. And though she isn’t teaching children in a classroom, she’s still fulfilling the role of an educator through her writing and as a parent. “Although I did not become a schoolteacher, God blessed me to become a children’s book author and it has been such an inspiration to me.”
For Green, her literary spark was ignited when she fell in love many years ago, she said, laughing. It’s a common catalyst that seems so blatantly cliché, but every writer has felt its power.
Poetry was her way of working through the waves of emotions she was experiencing. “When you are a writer, you must use your imagination. It takes a vivid imagination, and so with me falling in love and going through those feelings, I began to write poetry,” she said.
She discovered writing at night allows her to find calm and focus, in turn allowing her imagination to flourish.
When Green begins developing a new children’s story, she simply puts herself at their level, trying to see, feel and interpret her ideas through the eyes of a child.
Another part of her writing process involves developing narratives that instill good moral values as well as positive affirmation. “Children need to know that they are important and they can develop confidence in themselves.”
Her experience as the mother of a child with autism led to the understanding that all children can learn, but not all children learn the same way. “All children can learn, but we must be willing to teach them. It does not matter the level of the child. Teach them, and they can learn– Each child is different. Some children perform academically at a more moderate pace than others, but at the same time, they can learn,” she emphasized.
And though PJ the character doesn’t have autism, Green’s next book will introduce him to a new friend who’s autistic. PJ and readers will learn the value of patience and respect for others, as well as how to become friends with people who have different abilities.
“I began writing over 20 years ago, and I just published my first book this past January,” she concluded. “Don’t allow your dreams to become deferred. I say that to say, whatever your dream is, whatever your goal is, pursue it.”
This book is available in the Tennessee Tribune News Store at Nashville International Airport (BNA).