Lolita Richard was working on her degree in Elementary Education when her instructor challenged her to write a children’s book.

“She asked, ‘with the growth of technology how do we keep students interested in books?’ I did some hard thinking and all I could come up with was to write interesting books, and that’s exactly what I did,” Lolita said. “I have always been an artist and writer, but never thought of actually putting it all together.”

Since then, Lolita has written, illustrated and published two children’s books, “Walking with the Animals: an ABC Big Book Adventure,” written using alliteration, and “Amazing Fun with Numbers! I Can Count to 25…All by Myself,” written in English and Spanish.

“Both of my books were purposely written following the English/ Writing/Reading Kansas Standards and can be modified for lesson plans and be integrated into other subjects,” Lolita said.

Her favorite books, ones that sparked her interest in reading and writing, are “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” by Maya Angelou and “The Learning Tree” by Gordon Parks.

“These books changed my life and molded me into the avid reader I am today. Both these books are coming of age stories which give details of dynamics of life that parallel my very own to some degree.”

In addition to writing and illustrating children’s books, Lolita is also a substitute teacher.

“I have been a Substitute Teacher Since 2006. I started with KCK District 500 in 1988 as a Childcare Para Educator. I have worked at every school in District 500. I eventually was able to receive my Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education from Ottawa University in 2010. I am planning on returning to school to get my Master of Arts degree in Education sometime in the near future.”

Lolita enjoys the flexibility and the chance to meet new people that substitute teaching allows.

“I love the interactions with the students who always make me smile and keep me young at heart,” Lolita said. “Teaching and guiding young minds is an amazing job.”

In the classroom, Lolita strives to be a mentor and positive role model for her students.

“I believe everybody deserves to be loved, accepted, validated and given a chance to become great,” she said. “I believe it is important to make classrooms conducive to learning, safe, and a positive learning environment by engaging student in their learning process.”

When she’s not teaching or working on one of her children’s books, Lolita enjoys performing her original poetry, illustrating, fishing, traveling and spending time with family and friends.

“My family means a lot to me. I want to do well so that I can directly change their lives.”