With four books on Amazon and in stores and with more to come, Kingwood author Marilyn Harkrider is delighting children of many ages; even adults who still have an inner child they recognize. A book that could become a seasonal favorite, "Santa Is it Really You?,” has gorgeous illustrations by Hannah Newsom.
“I spent three years trying to find someone who could illustrate the story the way I wanted it to be done," said Harkrider. "I found her as a Google Doodle winner. It then took three months to find a way to contact her as she was 17 at the time. She is wonderful!”
The pictures support the story, which whimsically explains why there are so many Santas in stores and malls.
A re-issue of a story that was published in the early 1990s under the title "Santa’s Lap," "Santa Is It Really You?" has been gently reworked.
“Some of the people I know who bought the original book are still reading it every Christmas to their children and grandchildren. That is a rewarding feeling,” said Harkrider.
Other titles that are available are "Tub Teaching for Tots,” which is a book of science-teacher-approved fun experiments for the tub.
“These have a light touch and mastery is not expected," said Harkrider." They use items found in the home, and are not hard to do. They teach everything from color density to pollution.”
Two others are companion books for the fourth-grade reader, or for a parent to read to their children. "Mademoiselle Meringue Bayou Baby" and "Mademoiselle Meringue" are the adventures of a Cajun kitten in her kittenhood and then in New Orleans where she finds a new home. The books are authentic in the customs and history they present, and a glossary of terms and sayings help the reader understand the unique expressions of the area.
“She may have more adventures, but for now she is a happy cat in the Big Easy,” said Harkrider.
Many of Harkrider’s books were inspired by events in her two children’s lives. Grown now, they are married with children of their own.
Harkrider has had experience with not only children in her family, but children of many ages during her years as a teacher. “I have truly taught students from kindergarten, to doctors and nurses. The latter may not be young in age, but many are at least young at heart," said Harkrider.
Two more books will be out next year: "Snore Me Safe Daddy" and "Wonderment Prayers for Children." Then the titles "The Courageous Cuckoo," "Happy Christmas Merry Hanukah" and "Footloosuns" will come.
“I have these things pop into my mind and at three in the morning it can be a nuisance, but a happy one," said Harkrider. I am experiencing a dream of mine that I have held for many years. My books are getting into the hands of children, and I hope they will bring them as much joy reading them as I have had writing them.”
A book-signing at On The Park, 11271 Kingwood Drive, is scheduled for Dec. 6. Harkrider and Santa will be there to sign copies of "Santa Is It Really You?."