Retired Wellington resident Mary Ann Thompson often buys books for her granddaughter Lauren to read, and one day she read some of them herself.
“I can do this and teach something as well,” she thought and began writing short stories to entertain Lauren. Then, when retirement meant even more time at home during the pandemic, Thompson decided to compile the stories into a book.
The result is Growing Up Emma: In The Fourth Grade, now available on Amazon for $15.
Thompson, who has lived in the Binks Forest area of Wellington for 23 years, has been retired for four years. She taught therapy and child growth and development courses at Palm Beach State College for 15 years, and before that, she was a counselor and therapist for substance abuse programs. “They don’t usually bring you good stories,” she said.
Currently, Thompson is hard at work on the next books in the Emma series. She is writing the fifth grade and sixth grade editions of Emma’s story.
“Emma is really a thinker,” Thompson said. “She has friends from lots of different cultures, and I weave in stories that highlight what is similar about the girls and show what is different. I refer to the holidays they celebrate. I try to teach some life lessons without them knowing what I’m doing.”
She believes that many children can learn from the Emma stories.
“Emma is an inquisitive and thoughtful nine-year-old,” Thompson said. “She often wonders about ordinary things that most of her friends just take for granted. As she enters fourth grade, her adventures with her friends begin to unfold.”
Thompson said that with the current pandemic, it has been difficult to hold any readings or book signings for her new book.
“It is hard to blow your own horn when there is no place to play the horn,” she said, adding that her number one fan and toughest critic is Lauren, who gives her good feedback.
Thompson noted that John Vincent Palozzi did the book design and provided help editing the stories.
In addition to the Emma series, Thompson is also working on an adult novel that is semi-autobiographical.
“A little fact, a little fiction,” she explained.
Find Growing Up Emma: In The Fourth Grade on Amazon by searching for the title.