Groton’s lovable fictional furball, Izzy P. Kitty, is going on another adventure with the latest installment in the Izzy Adventure book series called “Izzy’s Day to School.”
Izzy Day to School is the fifth book of the series, with the others being Izzy’s Groton Adventure, Izzy’s Dance Adventure, Izzy’s Adirondack Adventure and Izzy’s Thousand Island Adventures. The first three books were written by Mona Forney and Janet Watkins, whom are the secretary and president of Izzy’s Closet, respectively. Izzy’s Closet is a nonprofit organization that ensures all elementary school students have basic supplies, books and clothing to succeed in school, according to the corporation’s website.
However, the fourth book features a new author in Groton Elementary School Literacy Coach Erin D’Antonio.
“Izzy goes on this adventure to school to show kids what school is all about and what they’ll encounter as they enter classrooms, [meet] their teachers, the cafeteria. Different places that they wouldn’t be familiar with until they actually get to school,” D’Antonio said.
This is the first piece of children’s literature D’Antonio has ever written. She said it was enjoyable, but also challenging process.
“It was tricky to convey the message you want to convey in a very young, child-friendly way,” she said. “Keeping the text simple and not [having] tons of words on a page was really challenging.”
D’Antonio said this book is different from the previous three in that it is tailored more towards children entering school for the first time in their lives.
“The idea was, through the Izzy Reads project, having a book that the readers could show the children to introduce them to the school setting in a very friendly and comfortable and familiar way,” she said.
“[The other books] are told in more of a narrative way. Much longer text. Izzy definitely goes on bigger adventures, grander adventures. In this one, we really tried to simplify and make it much more little kid friendly. The others aren’t necessarily geared towards four-year-olds.”
The book is currently being presented to the four-year-old preschool students in the Groton Central School District’s Universal Pre-Kindergarten (UPK) program and Headstart classrooms. Both programs received copies of the book along with a stuffed Izzy cat plushy for each student.
“They would be able to take home the book and the cat as a way to have that connection with each other and then they could share that with their families as well,” D’Antonio said. “Then start to have some of those conversations about what it’s like to go to school and be a part of the school community.”
She said her own daughter is a part of the UPK program, and having a book like this is not only beneficial to the children, but also for the children’s parents.
“It hit pretty close to home for me that she’s going to be experiencing all these new things and all these other kids, too,” she said. “And just thinking about all those fears as a parent – what it’s like to go to school and how do I prepare my child?”
“Basic things like you’re going to go to school and you’re going to have a teacher and you’re going to go into your classroom…kids eat lunch different. Some kids bring lunch and some kids buy lunch. You have to go to the bathroom by yourself. All those things aren’t necessarily things you think of right away. Those are the kinds of things we tried to include in the book to make sure that parents have that context to talk to their kids about those things, too.”
For those who are interested in picking up a copy of Izzy’s Day at School, copies of the book can be purchased at Brittany Station in Groton.