BIOGRAPHY of a BOOK LOVER
Birth to Adult - Aileen Gardner Kirkham
On April 18th in Casper, Wyoming, I was surely born babbling about books: reading and writing them. My childhood goal was to read as many books as I could carry out of the public library. As far as I was concerned it was like mining gold. My mantra became "Love Literature, Will Travel" whether reading on vacation as a kid or presenting inservices at the Texas Library Association and the American Association of School Librarians' conferences. Along the way I learned to become a professional storyteller since I am passionate about having kids learn and grin with the joy of a good story.
Teen Writer to Alumni Award
My teen years in Shreveport, Louisiana, included submitting articles to the newspaper at Hamilton Terrace Junior High, and later as a high school junior when I was selected to be the editor of the school newspaper, "The Northwood Falcon". Reading tastes varied from action adventure to romance and mystery. If I would have owned a Kindle and Nook then, I would have bankrupted my parents! Reflecting back on high school... a special thanks to childhood friend, Karen Strickland Moore. As a result of her recommendation, I received an alumni achievement award for thirty years service in public education; the publication of four books and numerous articles; and my professional storytelling for children.
People Who Inspired Me
READING - My mom was an avid reader and took me to the library constantly.
STORYTELLING & BOOKTALKING - Mrs. Jimmie Doerge, 7th grade teacher and family friend, who told me I had a talent for talking about books.
WRITING - Pat Miller, author, career librarian, and educator, convinced me to submit my first article to "Library Media Connection" magazine. Later on when Upstart Books was needing a series on collaboration, she encouraged me to write the intermediate books for the Collaborative Bridges series. How do you spell writing success...MENTOR!
SCBWI - Society for Children's Book Writers and Illustrators' meetings and conferences has also made a major impact on my writing along with the article assignments the Library Sparks editors have given me. And last, but not least when I hosted the late Bill Wallace, children's author, he shared that it took him ten years to get published. Perseverance is a plus!
1988 - Master of Library Science - Sam Houston State University
1972 - Bachelor of Education - Washburn University of Topeka
Tomball Independent School District - retired 2011
Exemplary Elem Schl Librarian - 22 years
Classroom teacher - 8 years
Aldine Independent School District - 1975-76, 2nd grade
North Forest Independent School District - 1974 - 75, 2nd Grade
Abilene Independent School District - 1974, teaching paraprofessional
Texas Library Assoc. 2011 Conference - 1000 Great Ideas Booth
The Authors Guild, Inc. - 2011 - Present
Greater Houston Area Puppetry Guild - 1980s - Present
Society for Children's Book Writers & Illustrators - 2001 - Present
Texas Library Association - 1987- 2017