Niles author to speak with kids nationwide about bookPublished 1:01am Saturday, December 12, 2009
By AARON MUELLER
Niles Daily Star
For years, Cheri Hallwood would scratch out poems and stories onto small slips of paper that would pile up around the house and find their way into shoe boxes.
Those jottings on paper scraps were the creative spark that led to her two illustrated children’s books and another one that is on the way.
Her success as an author has opened the door to share her experience with students across the country.
On Jan. 12, Hallwood will participate in an educational videoconference for the Michigan ASK (Author, Specialist, Knowledge) program. First and second grade students at schools in Michigan, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Texas will ask her questions about her book, “Winter’s First Snowflake” and the writing process.
Hallwood, a resident of Niles since age 2, said she has always had a passion for writing, but it took her until her 50s to finally make her dream a reality.”I always dreamed of writing,” Hallwood, 60, said. “But I was a stay at home mom. I worked part-time, because my goal was to stay home with my children as much as I could. I was a Girl Scouts leader, volunteer at school, anything to be around children. I love their honesty and imagination.”
In 2006, she decided to combine her love for children with her passion for writing and started self-publishing children’s books under her company Forever Young Publishers.
“I read something that said ‘chase your dream before you are too tired to catch it,’” Hallwood said. “And I thought I better get moving, because it does take a lot of work.”
The decision did not come without a little nudge from the right people.
“You kind of just wait until that magical day happens when you can go after your dream,” Hallwood said. “That day came for me when I was talking to my grandchildren, they said they loved my writing and they said I should go for it.”
Her first book, “Winter’s First Snowflake,” written in lyrical rhyme and illustrated by local artist Patricia Rose, was published in 2006 and won the 2007 Mom’s Choice Award for Most Outstanding Children’s Book.
Hallwood said her inspiration for writing often comes from her six grandchildren, but the premise of “Winter’s First Snowflake” comes from her own childhood memories.
“I have always loved snow, always anticipated the first snowfall and seeing the first snowflake,” she said. “The story is told from the snowflake’s point of view and captures its journey to earth. It’s a sweet, simplistic story.”
Hallwood said the verse on the back of the book captures its premise: “With the coming of winter, there seems to be that special moment we all long to see. From out of the clouds magic takes place. Soon winter’s first snow flake will bring a smile to your face.”
She published a second book titled “The Curious Polka-Dot Present” in 2007, which also won the Mom’s Choice Award in 2008. Her third book, “One Wish for Winifred Witch,” will be out August 2010.
Hallwood is looking forward to speaking to so many students during the videoconference.
“I’m very excited and a little nervous,” she said. “I feel very honored.”