East DeKalb Campus employee’s passion shines in children’s book

Sharon Liner-Ervin reads to students on carpetGetting younger students invested in reading and literature is no easy task. For some teachers, the best way is a book filled with alluring pictures. For others, the secret ingredient is a fantastic story that captures the imagination.

For one DeKalb County School District (DCSD) employee, it’s the entertainment provided by her household pet, Samson.

During normal weekday work hours, DCSD East DeKalb Campus administrative assistant Sharon Liner-Ervin is a typical education worker: diligent, welcoming, and meticulous. After work, she engages in her creative passions as a children’s book author and playful poet, which recently resulted in Liner’s first published book, Getting to Know Samson.

“I’ve always wanted to write a book, but have always been afraid to put myself out there,” said Liner-Ervin. “This year, I forced myself to do it. I already write poems, skits, plays, and short fiction, but I wanted to something different. So I just went for it.”

Getting to Know Samson is a book designed for children aged 2 to 7. The book, which revolves around a day in the life of Liner-Ervin’s pet dog, features illustrations by Anthony and Erica Schmidt. Told through an ongoing rhyme scheme, Getting to Know Samson follows Samson as he gets up, introduces himself, creates mischief, entertains his owner, eats pickles, drinks tea and goes back to sleep.

So far, Liner-Ervin has sold more than 100 copies via Amazon.com and more than 30 in person—a result that has inspired her to begin a second book with the same illustration team.

illustration from book of man kissing dog

“Samson does funny things—things a normal dog doesn’t do. He does things to write about,” Liner-Ervin said. “He does things I could probably write 10 books about. It’s just like having a child in the house. He keeps me busy.”

Liner-Ervin has always been a writer at heart. She can recall days in elementary school when classmates would be outside playing while she spent time in indoors writing and reading. Today, her spare time is dedicated to a poetry blog, writing YouTube video scripts and skits, and developing motivational passages for women.

“I’m fascinated with words, watching them all come together,” she said. “Some people love numbers, I love words and sentences.”

Liner-Ervin has already started taking her book on tour. She recently read to DeKalb Academy of Technology & Environment, a DCSD charter school, and brought Samson along to take part in the event. For her, the entire process—reading publicly, writing, developing a final book—is about helping students find a joy for reading.

Getting to Know Samson, according to Liner-Ervin, is designed to help students who are trying to understand concepts, sentence structure, and how to access parts of their imagination.

“It bothers me to see kids, especially at a certain grade level, who can’t pronounce words,” Liner-Ervin said. “If they get an early start, or have someone help them early, it may improve things. I think my book will help in that regard. The words aren’t very complicated—the longest word in my book is ‘complaining’—and I try to make everything that happens simple enough for younger kids. Kids need to start reading at a very early age.”

For more information on Sharon Liner-Ervin’s work, visit www.poeticworship.com or www.woweministry.com.