Burns, who met Freeman when her daughter was in Freeman’s first and third classes at Westside, said, “One of the things we both had in common was to write a children’s book.”
Burns and Freeman collaborated, drawing on their individual passions such as gardening, insects and storytelling. “It became this perfect blend to do this book,” said Burns, a Paulding County resident.
“The Ugly Bug Ball” offers insight into social relationships through different personalities such as main character Stanley Stinkbug who feels left out when he is not invited to the lavish Ugly Bug Ball thrown by his fellow bugs, the Uglies, because of his stinkbug stench.
“We wanted to hit on something that is going on and the kids could identify with,” said Burns, a schoolteacher of 10 years.
“We wanted the book to be fiction and to be used in the classroom. We wanted to write a book that could be used in different ways,” Burns said.
She said the insects are anatomically correct in the book, making them teaching tools.
Among its lessons, the book teaches self-esteem and respect.
“Kids need to know that everybody has feelings. No matter what, you don’t know what others go home to on a daily basis. You don’t know what has shaped their lives. Kids need to be aware that everybody has a voice and they might make a bad choice but in the end there’s a reason for it,” Burns said.
The lessons in the book translate into real world experiences.
“This (conflict) is not just in school. You will find it in the workplace and every place in general,” said Freeman, a Kennesaw resident and teacher of 12 years.
“The characters come to life. The kids love the characters and the story line. They are able to identify with the characters,” Freeman said.
The book available where most books are sold. Visit www.theuglybugballbook