The College of New Jersey Logo

Apply     Visit     Give     |     Alumni     Parents     Offices     TCNJ Today     Three Bar Menu

Active Annie and Lively Laura provide movement motivation in new children’s book

laura bruno and anne farrell hold their new book in front a blue sky and trees

Anne Farrell and Laura Bruno, two faculty members in TCNJ’s School of Nursing and Health Sciences, have published a new children’s book entitled Move and Learn: Let’s Jump.

The book, which is the first in a series, is an extension of the pair’s ongoing educational efforts to emphasize the importance of physical activity for elementary school-aged children.

“We are health and physical education teachers by trade and we recognize there is a need for books that encourage students to move,” Farrell said, “With the drastic decline in children’s physical activity levels over the past 10 years, we felt that now more than ever is the right time for this series.” 

The duo spent two years working on the book, which features characters based on themselves named Active Annie and Lively Laura.

Each book meets psychomotor, cognitive, and affective goals. The characters learn the cues to perform the skill (cognitive), they practice the skill (psychomotor), and they help and encourage friends (affective). Throughout the book, the authors use “We improve when we move” as a philosophy to connect practice with increased success.

“In this first book, the girls learn the appropriate form for jumping and they go out and practice that skill,” Bruno said. “Then the girls help someone who’s struggling with the skill, showing the importance of helping, supporting, and encouraging someone else.”

Active Annie and Lively Laura provide movement motivation in new children’s bookThe steady rise in children’s use of cell phones, tablets, and other electronic devices has led to a rapid decrease in physical activity, which impacts not only a child’s physical health but other factors as well.

“The use of these devices has a significant impact on the activity level of children, but it goes beyond that,” Bruno said. “We also find that students who move less are less competent and confident in other areas of their lives which leads to an unwillingness to participate in sports or physical activity. There is a snowball effect we are trying to prevent by encouraging activity at young ages.”

When the first box of books arrived at her house, Bruno was so excited she had her husband take a video of her opening the package.

“I knew that was a moment I wanted to capture,” she said. “We had seen proofs and drafts online, but to actually hold the finished book in my hands was really thrilling.”

Publishing the book was also a learning experience for the authors, who are hoping to see the books come to life in other ways down the road, including potentially as an animated series.

“Bringing the content to the project came very naturally to us — it’s what we do every day,” Farrell said. “Other aspects, like getting the illustrations just right, were a little more challenging. But we learned a lot that should help making the process a little smoother for the next book and other projects we have in mind for these fun characters.”

The book, which can be purchased through Amazon, has already made the Amazon Best Seller list and is currently trending at the top spot for new releases in its category and top 100 for all children’s literature categories.

— Luke Sacks