By: Julie Laakko
Tuesday was National Read Across America Day, as well as Dr. Seuss’ Birthday. What better way to celebrate than by reading a good book! While there is no shortage of great children’s books out there, sometimes you do not need to look any further than your own town to find a wonderful author.
Along with her work in the food pantry and State Theater, local author Carole Moeller writes and publishes children’s books. She has published four books in total. In fact, she recently finished a new book called “The Missing Jesus”, which was meant to arrive in time for Christmas. The Covid delays and slow mail pushed the date back, but the book is now available at Lee’s Variety Store and Amazon.
Other books Carole has written include “Houdini the Disappearing Cat”, “The Snowman Who Wouldn’t Behave”, and “The John Tree”.
Carole first began writing in college, when she took a class called “Children’s Literature”. She wrote several books during the class, and her instructor thought she should pursue a path in writing children’s books.
However, Carole said she had no interest in it at the time. She was an English Elementary Education major and had other plans. She followed her passion and became a teacher. Carole’s life as an author did not begin until after her 60 years of teaching.
“When my brother died, I wanted him to be remembered.” Carole said, “So I wrote his book, ‘The John Tree’.” Carole says the story emphasizes that, regardless of your color, nationality, handicap, etc, there is a place in the world for everyone.
“Tammy Koelling from Words Matter Publishers read the book, and that was my start.” Carole said. Proceeds from “The John Tree” went towards United Cerebral Palsy.
While Carole did not pursue a career in writing like her college instructor suggested, she kept her books and ideas. After “The John Tree” was published, Carole brought some of these ideas to the publisher as well.
“I ‘dug’ up my other books and she liked those – so there it began, my new career after 60 years in the classroom.” Carole said. Proving it is never too late to begin a new story.
Carole’s books are written for children, keeping the way they think in mind.
“I try to have kid problems in the books – things they deal with – and can solve themselves.” Carole said. Some authors use a lot of detail and vocabulary that does not always resonate with children. Carole prefers to write books with words, events, and characters that children can relate to. She also says she uses real characters,
“And happy endings!” she promises.
Many of her books were inspired by real events or people. For example, her book, “The Snowman Who Wouldn’t Behave” came from a conversation she had with a man. The man was tired of his grandson hitting and attacking people with a stick-laser. You will have to read the book to find out what happens to that snowman.
“Houdini the Disappearing Cat” is based off of her own siamese cat. She read the book to a child, once, and afterwards she told the child that Houdini was real. The child was amazed, and asked to meet Houdini. When Carole brought out a real cat, and not a stuffed animal, the child was flabbergasted.
“He’s not a stuffed one!” the child had said, amazed to see the character from the book in real life.
“What amazes me is the kids can’t believe there is such a thing as a Real Author.” Carole said. Children do not always think about where a book comes from, or how it is written. When Carole has children read the name on the cover of her books, they are always started to realize that it is her name.
Carole enjoys going to schools and daycares to read to children. She also wants to begin doing book signings again, soon. With the pandemic, however, events like these have not been possible.
“Too many things have hurt children during this pandemic,” Carole said. No contact with teachers or eachother, odd schedules, the general fear – it is a lot for grownups, let alone children.
Carole also worries that, with everything remote, it is easier than ever for parents to let computers raise their children.
“I wish parents today would take time to read to their children,” Carole said, “don’t let tv, computers, ipads, etc raise your child.” She worries that there is a lot of disconnect between children and reality these days. Like in the situation with the grandfather who inspired “The Snowman Who Wouldn’t Behave”.
“There is so much fantasy – and that’s good!” Carole said, but she still worries about that disconnect. It is why she encourages parents to unplug their children, from time-to-time, and read.
She reminds parents that the Nashville Library has excellent programs for kids – for free! And she hopes that, when the pandemic is over, the live tv show “Carol’s Kids” that was filming at the library can return. The show had to be cancelled because the kids could not come due to the pandemic.
Carole said book sales are also down, and many book stores have been closing.
“Hopefully this too shall pass.” Carole said. “Hopefully soon I can have a book signing – and meet the kids – and talk to them, personally, so they can see I’m Real!”
Carole has two more books coming out sometime this Spring, at the earliest. One of the books is about a little boy who loves frogs and the other is about a bully.
Another book may be coming out in the fall. This will be a coloring book about a little girl who colored her Halloween Cat green – and her teacher didn’t like it. This is another story based off of a real event, but you will have to ask the author for the whole story.
When things begin to open up more, Carole encourages schools and daycares that are interested in having her visit and read to the children to give her a call! Her number can be found at The Nashville News.
In her free team, Carole enjoys painting, gardening, and of course reading. She also helps at the food pantry, holds 2-3 rummage sales a year to help support The State Theater, and takes care of her three dogs and seven cats.