Alumni authors read their children’s books in storytime series recognizing National Read a Book Day

Alumni, families and friends are invited to join alumni authors on VCU Alumni’s Facebook page Sept. 1-6 as they read their children’s books to promote National Read a Book Day on Sept. 6. 


Sept. 2
Shweta Ujaoney, D.D.S. (D.D.S.’16/D)
A Caterpillar at the Dentist

Ira is nervous about her dentist visit. She has never had a filling before. When Ira meets Zack, a talking caterpillar, in the dentist’s waiting room, Zack knows just how to make her feel better. Zack explains that the dentist’s tools are simple, harmless objects used in everyday life. Through their imagination, Ira will learn to understand the nature and importance of getting a filling. Along with the book there is a song, “I don’t mind going to the dentist”.

Ujaoney is a dentist who is passionate about working with kids and giving them a better dental experience. She realized that kids are generally apprehensive about things that are unknown to them or new to them. They learn by comparing and contrasting things that they already know and hence add on to their knowledge and experience. The desire to make dental treatment more acceptable, easy and happy for kids inspired her to write this book. Through her practice, Ujaoney has found that kids not only love to learn about the dental gadgets, but also love to be active participants in dental treatment. She has extensively researched the various reasons for dental fear and anxiety in children and published scientific papers. She is also the inventor of the “Camouflage syringe,” which helps mask the sharp anesthetic needle.

Sept. 3
Patrick D. Johnson (B.S.’16/B)
“Be Nice!”

In a world where bullying seems to be so rampant among today’s children, “Be Nice!” encourages them to be respectful toward their friends and others. Rocko, the neighborhood bully, learns that it’s not OK to be mean or hurt people’s feelings. He realizes that he’s wrong, he apologizes and he’s then accepted as a new “pal.” Parents and children alike will love this simple and meaningful read.

Johnson was inspired to write “Be Nice!” to address the topic of bullying. The goal is to initiate a conversation between parents and children about the negative impacts of bullying and the positive impact of being nice and treating others with respect. Writing short stories is his way to help kids and inspire them to be the best version of themselves.

Sept. 4
Miisha M. Clemons (M.S.’09/MC)
“Twice the Love Under Two Roofs”

“Twice the Love Under Two Roofs” teaches that children from multiple homes can live great lives. Through colorful illustrations, the book shows what co-parenting looks like when parents supply love, support, safety and choose to remain a positive influence in their children’s daily lives.

Clemons wrote the book from the perspective of a child. She found that so often in separation and divorce the child’s voice is lost. She wrote this book to emphasize children as the priority and knowing that there’s always twice the love from both parents regardless of the living situation and family dynamics. Clemons’ desire to write has always been an outlet to express true thoughts and a way to communicate with others.  

Sept. 5
Donna McIndoe Dalton (M.Ed.’00/E)
“Two Mice at the Eiffel Tower”

A mouse has never visited the top of the Eiffel Tower, let alone two mice.  Join Azura and Afrodille as they take a special tour of Paris with their companion, Madame Bella.  The two mice create a plan to see the entire city from the top of the famous landmark, but will it actually work?  Enjoy an adventure that incorporates communication, critical thinking,  creativity and collaboration skills. Graphic artist, David Pfendler, brings these French characters to life and creates magnificent illustrations of Paris sights and the famous Eiffel Tower.

Dalton is an educator of 40 years and is the former chief academic officer for Chesterfield County Public Schools. She has served as a past president of VCU Alumni and past president of the VCU School of Education Alumni Council. She has taught at the elementary, secondary and graduate levels. She lives with her husband, Bob, and is a mother and grandmother who loves to travel.  The idea for “Two Mice at the Eiffel Tower” came from a visit to Paris over 20 years ago.  While sitting on the park bench near the Eiffel Tower, Dalton noticed tiny grey mice scurrying around the bushes. She looked at her husband and said, “Someday I am going to write a children’s book about this.” She kept this vision alive and finally made her dream come true after retirement. She has now published her third book and plans to continue writing. Her message to students and adults is simple:  You are never too old to give up on your dreams and become an author. Her other books are “Two Mice in London” and “Two Mice in New York:  A Holiday Adventure.”


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