“The Knot Monster” is going home with 436 Polk County students in the United Way of Central Florida’s Reading Pals program, thanks to donations from Lakeland author Jennifer Hazen Buss and the Watson Clinic Foundation.
Written in 2012 by Buss, “The Knot Monster” is about a girl named Ellie who hates having her hair brushed by her mother every morning because it is filled with knots. The knots are made by the Knot Monster, who loves the smell of Ellie’s shampoo so much that he dances in her hair each night.
Buss, who is a radiologic technologist at the Watson Clinic Women’s Center, is interested in sparking children’s love for reading so they become proficient readers by the time they reach third grade, she said. To help in that goal, she donated copies of her book to Lakeland students in the Reading Pals program. The Watson Clinic Foundation donated the funds so all Polk County children in the program could have Buss’s book after learning of the opportunity.
"We wanted to enhance the donation so that all 436 students who are part of Reading Pals could receive a copy of Jennifer’s book,” said Dr. Richard Cardosi, president of the Watson Clinic Foundation. "This was a great way for us to honor her as a healthcare ally, and to further the goal of the Foundation by doing something that benefits our community."
“The Knot Monster” is a great book for the kindergarteners in the program, said Sylvia Palmer, Reading Pals program director. Last year, 420 students were given 19 books to have for their home libraries.These books often are the first books that are theirs to keep and use to build a home library.
Reading Pals is an early literacy initiative to help kindergarteners build academic success.
“We do that in a number of ways, mostly by establishing a foundation for reading by improving vocabulary, listening skills, comprehension, and visual and auditory memory,” Palmer said.
Reading Pals is in 17 Florida school districts. The program recruits pals – adults who read with students weekly at their schools – and gives books to students in December and April each school year.
In addition to “The Knot Monster,” Buss has authored several other books and hopes to donate her book “This is Nuts!” to the Reading Pals program to raise awareness for Food Allergy Awareness Week in May, she said.
Her books can be purchased on Amazon by clicking here.