In January 2020, April began creating her children's book series, the Adventures of Milo the Doodle Cat. In a matter of 3 months, she'd created, Beta tested, and formatted a 67 paged children's picture book in which the reader could creatively color.
Creation was a process! Especially after the first round of Beta testing and students commented on how Milo didn't really look like a cat but a raccoon.
Milo the Doodle Cat series was initially created with 1st grade mastery sight words and specific teacher desired vocabulary. The pages are purposefully left uncolored to foster the love of creativity that 5-9 year old's are known for. They are to make the story an adventure for themselves. There is also 3 sets of vocabulary to coincide with each adventure that Milo goes on.
Milo was Beta tested with students from a Title I elementary school in first, second, and third grade classes. Full transparency...teachers Loved it!! The books that followed continued that process, ensuring that growth was being maintained.
In honoring the months worth of Beta testing and the responses coming from the critical 7-10 year old's, the pages were left blank. This wasn't always the idea but time and time again the children requested that they be allowed to color the pages. Thus, the pages void of color is part of the package! A very sensitive topic in children's book publishing. Marketing research suggests that children 'want' colorful books, but our real world marketing data suggests otherwise. The buying power has always been about attraction, but sit down with a child longer than a few questions and you will learn some pretty remarkable opinions.
"There is science behind therapeutic coloring. While most people focus on this being an adult phenomena, being in the classroom for a decade has shown me that therapeutic coloring has many benefits for children as well. Don't take my word for it, do your own research! Psychology Today has a great article just scratching the surface for the benefits." -April Stults
"When I talk about my research and Beta testing, what people don't see if the outpouring of love and support of everyone involved in the creation of this series. I thank those teachers that welcomed my books into their classroom and hearts of their students. It means the world to me!" April Stults
The series is growing! Milo Learns Mindfulness officially released August 31st, 2021. Milo's Christmas Adventure released October 28th, 2021 adding a holiday workbook to the series. Coming in 2022: Milo Leans into Kindness, Milo Loves Math, and Milo the Mischievous Scientist!