Children’s Book Author Returns ‘Home’ to Walden School

March 23, 2018

When children’s book author Carol Franks-Randall visited the Walden School in Yorktown on Friday to read her picture book to students, no one needed to show her to the library. The retired educator had spent many years at Putnam | Northern Westchester BOCES as a teacher and administrator.  
“I feel a real kinship to these students and this organization,” said Franks-Randall, who joined PNW BOCES as a teacher in 1975 and left as director of Special Education in 1999. “I felt like I was coming back to my roots.”
At PNW BOCES, and later as a principal and superintendent at two Westchester school districts, Franks-Randall worked with children across the learning continuum. One thing she learned during her career was that children’s behavioral issues can often be turned around when the adults in their life work together. That belief is at the center of “Jamal and Me” – a story about a lonely boy who acts out in the classroom after moving from the city to the suburbs.
Franks-Randall read the story to four classes, with students listening eagerly to learn what would happen to Jamal when his teacher wants him moved from the classroom to another school.  Fortunately for Jamal, a loving principal comes to the rescue with a plan for improvement.
When the book was over, students wanted to know if Jamal was “a real boy” and why Franks-Randall had written her book.
Jamal was based on a real student she had known, she said, one who had written her a thank-you note at the end of the year much like one that Jamal sends the principal in the book. 
“I always wanted to write a story about a principal and a student and how principals, students and teachers can work together to change behavior,” she told the students.
Melinda Bucchignano, the Walden librarian, said Franks-Randall’s visit to Walden was the first time many of the younger students had met an author. “They’ll look at a book now with a different set of eyes, thinking about how someone had written it and illustrated it,” she said. Having a published author read her book aloud was also exciting to the students:

“They were so electric – they were just loving it,” Bucchignano said.
Or as 10-year-old John Cody said with a big smile on his face, “I met a real-life author!”
Franks-Randall offers information for parents and educators, and writing tips for students at her website
Cutline info:
Walden students listen as author Carol Franks-Randall reads her book, “Jamal and Me.”