OU Grad Publishes First Children’s Book

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We all remember parts of our childhood.

Besides recollecting how a peanut butter and jelly sandwich tasted (slightly moist from a morning spent in a Rugrats plastic lunchbox nestled in a wooden cubby hole behind a backpack) and the extremity of pain resulting from a skinned knee, we all remember the main archetypes from our early elementary school days.

The painfully shy one; the athlete skilled beyond their years; the bully (always revealed to be troubled in hindsight); the popular ones who seemingly had all the newest gear marketed to kids; and, of course, the way-too-talkative ones. The kids that routinely got pulled out of class for disrupting the flow of the day, the kids who would spurt fast facts about Mt. Everest or the world’s biggest pizza.

Melissa Martin, Ph.D., is a child therapist based out of Southeast Ohio, and she has worked with a great number of loquacious little ones. Earlier this year, Martin’s debut children’s book, Tessie Tames Her Tongue: a Book About Learning When to Talk and When to Listen, was published by Free Spirit Publishing, addressing the strife of the child who seems to have too much to say.

“My own daughter was very talkative as a child, and I do get children (as clients) who are overly talkative, very high energy, and tend to disrupt the classroom. Often the child is directed to the school’s counselor, who then recommends to their parents that they seek outside counseling. At that point it becomes a team effort between myself, the school counselor, and the child’s teacher, to put a positive spin on those behaviors,” said Martin, also an Ohio University graduate. “A talkative child has a lot of strengths. They usually have a lot of leadership potential, they’re very curious, and, in general, they’re just delightful. What we do is try to use a strength based approach to help empower those children so that they can better manage their time listening and talking.”

Utilizing children’s books as a form of conveying ideas about behavioral changes is nothing new for Martin, who has been a child therapist for around 30 years.


“I used to make a lot of books for specific clients and their specific issues,” said Martin, who has been writing children’s books for decades, although Tessie’s tale is the first one to be picked up by a publisher. “Writing children’s books is a very competitive field, but I have been making an effort to learn more about what makes a successful book over the years – reading the Caldecott award-winning books, and attending workshops about writing.”

When children are able to ingest a story by themselves it allows for a particular type of introspection, especially once parents get involved in asking the right questions about the narrative of the story.

“When kids have a book and it has a character that is like them, they react like ‘oh my goodness! There’s another kid right there who is just like me!’ and it’s right there in black and white for them – they’re not alone,” said Martin. “This book is something that a parent or a teacher could use as a tool with a child to help them become a positive listener.”