Children’s book author Shalini Singh Anand and her beloved “Lee the Bee” mascot regularly do book readings at schools throughout California. A recent visit to Harker Preschool was marked by the added pleasure of wearing two hats: one as a guest speaker, the other as a parent.
Singh Anand is the author of the recently released “Lee the Bee: Turn off that TV!” and a previously published book called “Potter the Otter: A Tale About Water.” Her son, Vishal Anand, a 3-year-old student at Harker Preschool, was excited to have his mom lead a book reading, signing and giveaway in the school’s music and movement room.
“Shalini’s first book is already a favorite with our students. She read to them from her newest book and gave a signed copy of it to every preschooler!” recalled Andrea Hart, director of Harker Preschool.
“Lee the Bee” is described as a book about a little bee who learns that outdoor play is the best way to stay healthy and strong all day long. After finishing her reading at the preschool, Singh Anand handed out “Lee the Bee” stickers and gave signed books to the students and teachers in attendance.
“I create my stories for many reasons: to teach healthy lessons, which I hope last because they are being presented in a fun way; to instill a love of reading; and my own selfish reason is just to watch children listen intently and see their cute expressions as I read to them,” said Singh Anand, noting that she created her first book for First 5 Santa Clara County, an agency she worked for two years ago that funds educational programs for children’s first five years of life.
When she created her latest book last spring, she worked with pediatricians at Kaiser Permanente to ensure the health messaging was accurate. Kaiser later endorsed the book and over 50,000 copies are now in circulation throughout hospitals, schools and children’s agencies, all of which have the same goal: to eliminate childhood obesity. She said she hopes to reach as many children possible, teaching them the importance of physical activity and early literacy, “serious topics all while having fun!”
A former on-air news reporter and print journalist for over 10 years, Singh Anand has worked for local stations including Fox and NBC News, as well as the International Channel in Los Angeles and the Bay Area. She left the field of journalism a few years ago, but said she will always have a place for it in her heart.
Nowadays, she shared, motherhood is her most challenging job. Raising her son and finding the time to write, she added, would be impossible without the help of her parents, who watch her son after preschool while she and her husband are working.
“Vishal is absolutely in love with Harker Preschool. Every morning, in a mixture of skipping and bouncing, he makes his way toward Mr. Joe, who welcomes Vishal with a big smile and high-fives! Vishal continues his skipping and bouncing as he enters Clover Cottage, where he bursts into play with his school friends and his teachers. Both my husband and I are so pleased to know that his first school experience is a positive one,” she enthused, explaining why she felt so compelled to give back to Harker Preschool by coming out to do the reading.