Mrs. Mingledorff is a 2nd grade classroom interventionist at Union Academy and is going on her fourth year as part of our ever-growing family. Before moving to NC her resume included children’s pastor, elementary teacher’s assistant and ghost writer. She was hired at UA as the K-4 Media creative core teacher, and impacted some of our youngest students. However, her childhood dream of an adult career was something different.
When I sat down with Mrs. Mingledorff I asked if she always wanted to be an author. She said yes because she had been inspired by her great aunt and uncle who were both successful authors in the early to mid-1900’s. Though she has co-written a devotional book with an SEC football official and two award-nominated christian children’s musicals, Mrs. Mingledorff’s dream has always been to be a children’s author. Maybe that’s why she spends much of her time collecting children’s books. When I met with her at her desk in Mrs. Schaefer’s classroom, I noticed tons of books behind her desk. One of her favorites, she says, is the Three Little Pigs. She has seven different versions of the well-loved fairy tale.
As an adult, Mrs. Mingledorff became frustrated in her search for an outlet to express her creative curiosity. Writing became her outlet for expression and has become a place where she is able to think outside of the box. Writing allows her to connect with her inner child and she hopes her stories will allow other adults to do the same. She also hopes her writing inspires imagination and relationship.“From the beginning of writing this book I knew it would be a bedtime story,” stated Mrs. Mingledorff. “I could see myself snuggled up with my kids, reading this book.”
The process of writing her children’s book was challenging. Mingledorff had the story written for many years but lacked the courage to move forward. She stopped the publishing process not one time, but twice, because she lacked confidence. After three years of working toward publishing, this past summer she was determined to finish what she started. And she did.
Finding an illustrator was the easy part. Mrs. Mingledorff had an artist friend who related to her lack of confidence. They decided to push one another out of their comfort zone, and together created something they’re proud of. “Connie was the perfect illustrator. I gave her the story and told her to create. The art in the book is what she brought me. It was perfect. I didn’t ask her to change one thing. We will definitely work together again.”
Mingledorff is grateful for being able to work at Union Academy while pursuing this long-loved dream. “UA encourages teachers and staff to invest in themselves and the art of teaching. When an individual member of the UA team grows, the school benefits. The greatest goal is to be the best school we can be to impact our community.” As a UA educator, Mingledorff wants to inspire students to create, think outside of the box, choose kindness, and show good character.When asked what her favorite part about teaching is she said, “When they get it. When a child looks at you and the light goes on in their mind.”
Mrs. Mingledorff’s new challenge is staying above criticism. “Writers put a lot of their heart out for the world to see so it is difficult to hear people say they don’t like something I’ve written. But criticism is just part of writing so I’d better get thick skin, quick.”
When asked what advice she can offer, Mingledorff said, “Celebrate the small stuff. It is always an accomplishment to finish something, regardless how big or small it is. Celebrate the successes.”
The Day the Pumpkin Flew is so much more than a story of a pumpkin, meant for little kids to enjoy. It is a reflection of Mrs. Mingledorff’s beliefs and motivation to inspire creativity and make memories, and an example of how we can connect with our inner child. We should all have the chance to be freely creative with our lives. I believe it is a story not just for the young but a story for all, meant to bolster connections between all of us and remind us of the endless possibilities.
Luckily for us, Mrs. Mingledorff is working on not one but two more children’s books right now!
Make sure to check out The Day the Pumpkin Flew on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Google Play, Target.com and any other place you find your books.