Stefani Milan is a New Jersey based author who loves to entertain and bring joy to others through her writing. She most enjoys writing and creating imaginary worlds for children, young adults, and new adults. Stefani is a graduate of Rutgers University Camden with a Bachelor’s Degree in English and a Minor in Theater. She sings, she writes, and she acts. She taught at Huntington Learning Center for a couple of years and loved her time there as she taught those with special needs and tutored students for the SAT, ACT, GRE, and TOEFL. She also worked in the music industry as a Registration Coordinator for a main music industry event. I Liked You Much Better When You Were Outside is her first children’s book. She is currently working on a series of “learning past tense” books which she developed with an elementary school teacher.
I Liked You Much Better When You Were Outside is Stefani’s first children’s book, created out of the calling to help homeless animals. The book is a short poem-story told in rhyme form that tells the woes of a cat whose owners decide to take in a stray cat from the outside. The messages of the book focus on acceptance, sharing, friendship, and adoption.
After participating in a trap and release program, Stefani helped neuter and spay thirteen “feral” cats. She then decided to foster them and after socializing them, is now looking to place them in forever homes. A portion of the proceeds of each copy of I Liked You Much Better When You Were Outside typically goes to caring for animals in need. Schools that participate in the sale of this book, however, will have the option to use that portion of the proceeds to donate to a charity or activity of their choice.
The other unique part of this small book is Stefani and the illustrator, Matt Williams, have included two coloring book pages at the back of the book.
Stefani loves to entertain and talk to students of all ages about reading, writing, and how she became a published author.
She created a puppet show surrounding the themes of the book which would be ideal for both small and large groups of students.
In conjunction with an elementary school teacher, she came up with a bunch of fun, engaging activities for students that cover the main themes of sharing, kindness, love, and acceptance in I Liked You Much Better When You Were Outside. For these particular activities, the author would prefer a normal class size of students.
I Liked You Much Better When You Were Outside Curriculum Guide
Introduce students to the concepts of sharing, friendship, and acceptance using I Liked You Much Better When You Were Outside.
Topics for Discussion:
– Discuss how sharing/not sharing affects individuals.
– Discuss how kindness/unkindness affects individuals.
– To understand how sharing and accepting others encourages friendship and kindness.
– To understand how kindness allows for friendship and makes others feel happy.
– To understand the concept of empathy and how empathy allows for understanding of others and acceptance.
– Feelings: Abandoned, Alone, Flustered, Forgotten, Unknown
– It’s best to share and get along
– We must include and accept one another.
Mr. Kiddles is happy with his new friend, as long as he is outside. When Mr. Kiddles’ owners decide to take in little Tinky from the outside, Mr. Kiddles is suddenly deeply unhappy. He is unwilling to share his toys, his blankets, and his owners. But eventually he learns to accept Tinky, and they become best friends forever.
Part One: Making the Topic Relevant:
Ask children to explain what it means to feel included.
- Is it important to make others feel included? Why do you think that?
- How do you feel when someone includes you?
- How do you feel when someone excludes or overlooks you?
- How does sharing help others feel included?
Talk about times when it is very important to be accepting and inclusive, such as when a new baby brother or sister is coming into the family or a new child arrives at school. Display I Liked You Much Better When You Were Outside.
Read the title aloud. Invite children to predict what the story will be about.
Part Two: Read I Liked You Much Better When You Were Outside and briefly discuss using the following topics or use activity to engage audience:
-How did Mr. Kiddles, the cat inside the house, react when the new cat arrived inside his home?
-What do you think the new cat felt when Mr. Kiddles would not share his toys or accept him?
Activity: (See below for choices.)
Concluding Activity: Ask students what they learned about sharing and acceptance from the book.