CENTREVILLE — Local author Carol Franks-Randall of Centreville recently published her third children’s picture book, “Talking Buddies.” The story follows a young boy who immigrates to the United States and must adjust to his new surroundings, a new language and a new school.
In the story, the boy meets two of his neighbors who are learning Spanish as a second language. A warm friendship develops based on compassion and empathy.
“I wrote this book because I felt it was important to shine a spotlight on the benefits associated with a multilingual society that helps not only the new arrival,” said Franks-Randall, “but English speakers in our country who are trying to master a second language.”
Franks-Randall’s previous books include “Jamal and Me,” a semi-autobiographical book about a boy who struggles with relocating from the city to the suburbs (published in 2017) and “Playground Heroes,” which highlights two kind and courageous girls who take on bullies on the playground (published in 2018).
All three books are appropriate for ages 4-9.
A retired educator from New York, Franks-Randall has worked as a teacher, principal, superintendent and college instructor. She and her husband Robert relocated to Maryland’s Eastern Shore in 2009.
She is a frequent volunteer at Sudlersville Elementary, sharing her books and spending time reading to the students there, as well as other elementary schools in the area.
“I try to write books about topics about children that don’t often get a lot of attention,” said Franks-Randall, “children who come from different countries, and how they feel when they get to a new place, how they meld in, how they learn.”
Both students learning either English as second language or Spanish as a second language have something to offer, to share with each other, she said.
She said her experience in the school system in New York, with so many of her students speaking English as a second language, made her even more aware of how disruptive moving to a new country can be and that students can and should be more sensitive to each other.
The whole idea of having empathy and teaching empathy for kids who are struggling, for whatever reason, is the over-arching theme in all of her books, Franks-Randall said.