Duo writes, illustrates children's books

ABERDEEN — A stay at home mom and a retired school teacher have partnered to write and illustrate children's books.
Author Julie Beck is a stay at home mom with six children. She has read countless children's books to her kids, and about 10 years ago she said she began writing her own stories. But it wasn't until a few years ago that she found someone to illustrate her stories, making her dream of writing children's books a reality.
Nancy Schellenberg was working at Aberdeen Elementary as a first grade teacher where Beck's children attend school. Schellenberg, who is now retired and lives in Idaho Falls, received her master's degree in Reading and Education with a minor in fine arts in 2000. She said illustrating children's books was a natural transition from teaching.
"I have been teaching since 1971," Schellenberg said. "This was just a natural thing to go into."
Beck and Schellenberg have one finished book, "Silly Monkeys," with a second, "Crazy Colored Frogs," available March 6. Three more books are in the works, and Beck said she hopes to have five completed books by the end of this summer.
Schellenberg said she reads the stories—sometimes several times—to develop illustrations that help tell the story. She uses a variety of mediums including colored pencils, acrylics and watercolors.
"She's very talented," Beck said of Schellenberg. "She loves working with children."
Their books have been well received, and last week Beck went to Hillcrest Elementary School in American Falls to read her books to students.
"I love to see kids get excited when I read the books to them," Beck said. "It was really fun interacting with the kids."
Beck operates her own publishing company, Little Tadpole Books, to publish the books. The books can be purchased online at www.littletadpolebooks.com.