As someone who started off in the business world, publishing a children’s book wasn’t something that Megan Calderon had planned to do.
When Megan Hlavaty Calderon and her husband, Alejandro, bought their young daughter a stuffed toy orca, they wanted a book to go along with it. Megan had no success in finding one.
“After I couldn’t find a fitting book, I turned to my husband and told him that I would just write one for her,” she says. “So, I did.”
As someone who started off in the business world, publishing a children’s book wasn’t something that Megan had planned to do. That is why Goodnight, Little Orcas holds a meaning dear to her heart, especially as it plays a big role in the lives of her young daughters.
Megan, a 2005 Alma College graduate, teaches elementary classes for Chicago Public Schools in both the general and transitional bilingual (Spanish) programs. She credits former Alma College professor Mark Seals for instilling her passion for helping children learn.
“Although I didn’t major in education, Dr. Seals’ enthusiasm for and clear love of teaching stuck with me when I later got my teaching certification and master’s degree in education,” she says. “He shared a quote with us from Haim G. Ginott, which I’ve always taped to my desk in my classroom as a daily reminder of the impact a teacher can have on a student.”
Her passion for education led her to write a book for not only her own daughter, but for many other children as well.
“I initially planned to make just one copy on a photobook website like Snapfish,” she says. “However, the more I thought about it, and the potential market for this type of book, the more I desired to have it published.”
Megan began to look into both traditional and self-publishing processes. She also contacted Alma alumna and sorority sister Kristy Butts Benson ’05, who has a history with co-authoring children’s books, for advice.
“Once the process started, it took about a year to complete,” she says. “The book was released in July 2017, and now I’ve been working on setting up my business and marketing the book with the main target being the Pacific coast up through British Columbia and Alaska where orcas are most present.”
From working with biotechnology companies in Spain, to teaching and reading to elementary students, to writing a children’s book for many to enjoy, Megan looks to learn as much as possible with each task at hand.
“Having a broad background with my liberal arts education at Alma College taught me to find a passion in everything I do,” she says. “My professors and mentors at Alma had high expectations for me, so I’ve learned to always value and take pride in my work.”