Interview with Starr Burgess by Mayra Calvani (4 March 2013)

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starrburgessStarr Burgess worked as an elementary teacher and school counselor for a total of seven years. She has a Master’s Degree in Professional Counseling from Texas State University. Starr is busy working on her second children’s book: Counselor Dynamite Befuddles the Bullyville Crew. She currently resides with her husband, Clyde, and their daughter in Pflugerville, TX.

Tell us a little about your main character, Counselor Dynamite, and what makes her compelling?

Counselor Dynamite is full of light and joy. She made the decision to work with children in schools because she understands what it is like to feel invisible, unloved, uncared for, and unimportant. She wants children to believe in their self-worth and value to society. She lives her life according to the motto “No One Cares How Much You know Unless They Know How Much You Care.” And with those words in her heart she dedicates her life to enriching the lives of children.

Website: www.counselordynamite.com

What is the book’s audience?

While Counselor Dynamite is appropriate for people of all ages, the book series is intended for children ages 5-12, school counselors, teachers, and parents.

What would you like readers to learn from your book?

In short, I would like readers to remember the positive impact of simple acts of kindness, the power of empathy, and the far reaching effects of a genuine smile or asking someone how they’re doing.

What is your mission as an author?

My mission in every book is to promote positive character traits such as kindness, patience, courage, and empathy; encourage children to enjoy reading through humor and learn how their behavior affects others; and acknowledge the importance of the counselor’s role in schools by sharing the many hats counselors wear each and every day that people don’t know about but experience as the fruit of their tireless labor.

What has been the readers’ response so far?

The response has been overwhelming and humbling. Readers have reported that creating a superhero of schools is creative and much needed. In fact listed below is an actual review by Jenna Fleming:

“This is a great book…a must have for any elementary school counselor! It sends a very empowering message for the role of a school counselor and in a fun and relatable way for anyone who has experienced that frenzy of stress and excitement

(from teachers and students) that comes in schools before the holiday break. This is something really cute to also share w/in a group of counselors. I hope that our district will share this at our counselor meeting in December to lift spirits. I can’t wait for the supplemental guide and future ‘Counselor Dynamite’ books in the future.”

Where is the book available?

Counselor Dynamite Twas the Day Before Christmas Break is available at select Barnes and Noble stores and online with Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and the Apple I-Store.

What’s next for Counselor Dynamite?

The next Counselor Dynamite book will be available in the fall of this year. Its focus is empowering students with coping tools to overcome bullying behaviors along with a supplemental guide which contains lessons plans and activities for children. In the near future I will be publishing more Counselor Dynamite books that will focus on positive character traits. Also I would love to go on a book tour; be a regular guest on a talk and/or radio show discussing challenges children face and parent resources; and eventually partner with companies and build the Counselor Dynamite brand, maybe one day turning the adventures of Counselor Dynamite into a cartoon for children.

About the book

It’s Christmas time and Counselor Dynamite is the newest superhero to hit the scene.

Counselor Dynamite’s mission: To serve and protect children and support staff members in schools everywhere.

It’s the day before Christmas break. Teachers and staff are either running low on patience or are just plain tired. The students as you might have guessed are full of unbridled energy, but one thing is for sure everyone is ready to start Christmas break. Counselor Dynamite notices that something is amiss and quickly jumps into action knowing that if something isn’t done soon, students, teachers and staff will never be the same once chaos is unleashed. Will her helpers and faith be enough? Starr Burgess’s endearing story is brought to life by Victor Guiza’s vivid, colorful, and crisp illustrations.

Counselor Dynamite will capture the laughter and spirit of the holiday season with mischievous behavior and humor so contagious you will want to read it again. Counselors everywhere will be inspired to reinvent their own special quick, happy dance marking the end of each adventurous day.

Amazon – Barnes & Noble – Apple iTunes Store

Author: Starr Burgess
Illustrator: Victor Guiza
Illustration count: 12
Dimensions: 8×10 /hardcover
Pages: 26
ISBN: 978-1-60131-118-4
LCCN: none
Imprint: Big Tents Books
Retail: $16.95
AGE: 8-10
Publish date: July 28, 2012


This piece may NOT be freely reprinted. Please contact editor @ howtotellagreatstory.com for reprint rights.

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