Northwood authors publish books for children

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 29, 2006

By Rebecca Houg, staff writer

NORTHWOOD, Iowa &8212; When Ann Johnson of Northwood e-mailed her friend about the unusual course of events during her grandchildren&8217;s Sunday School Christmas program, she had no idea it would one day be printed as a children&8217;s book.

Johnson&8217;s story, &8220;The Littlest Shepherd Boy&8221; is about her grandson Timen&8217;s Christmas pageant

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and his embarrassing mishap. In a twist of the story, he learns the strength of God&8217;s grace and forgiveness.

Johnson&8217;s friend, the Rev. Cynthia Vold Forde, read her e-mail and was immediately captivated with the story.

&8220;She told me, &8216;It&8217;s too good! It just has to be shared because it tells the story of how God loves us so much,&8221; Johnson said.

Johnson said she didn&8217;t want to get involved with the complexities of publishing a book, but Vold Forde insisted.

&8220;You can&8217;t argue with a minister. It just doesn&8217;t work,&8221; she said with a grin.

Her friend took care of everything; she even found an illustrator online through

&8220;His name is Nihar Mudgal and he&8217;s from India,&8221; Johnson said. &8220;He&8217;s just captured the inside of a small, Lutheran church so well even though he&8217;s probably never been in one.&8221;

After seeing the finished product, Johnson said she&8217;s glad she let her friend twist her arm.

&8220;I&8217;m so happy with the book,&8221; she said. &8220;So many people have read it and are thrilled.&8221;

Even Timen is coming around. He wasn&8217;t too thrilled when he first found out his story would be shared with even more people. After a talk with Grandma about how important she felt the message of the story is and how it needs to be shared with other children he started warming up to the idea. Of course, it didn&8217;t hurt when she added

that her and grandpa would add a dollar to his college fund for every book sold.

&8220;Now he thinks he&8217;s going to be rich,&8221; she said.

Johnson had 750 copies printed. She donated 250 copies of her book to community betterment organization Total United Northwood Effort (TUNE) and 250 copies to the Northwood Education Foundation. The two organizations will be selling the books as fundraisers.

To order a book from TUNE and make a tax deductible donation send a check for $25 payable to TUNE to Ann Johnson, 1877 500th St., Northwood, IA 50459.

Copies of &8220;The Littlest Shepherd Boy&8221; are also available at Main Street Treasures and Jan&8217;s Breezy Impressions in Northwood, as well as the Top of Iowa Welcome Center.

Johnson&8217;s grandson, Timen, will also be doing a book signing at the Northwood Chamber of Commerce&8217;s Soup Luncheon on Saturday, Dec. 2 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at First Lutheran Church. Johnson is unable to attend the event but knows her grandson will be fine.

&8220;He told me, &8216;I think I can handle it, Nanny,&8217;&8221; Johnson said.

Another Northwood author, Deb Rohne, is also sharing a heartwarming children&8217;s story in her book &8220;Bedtime for Mary.&8221; Written, illustrated, and published by the author, the true story about creating a less stressful bedtime routine will bring smiles to both parents and children.

Rohne&8217;s book shares the tale of how she was put on the spot one evening when she couldn&8217;t get her four-year-old daughter, Mary, to go to bed. Deb’s clever and quick remedy for Mary’s bedtime problem inspired her to pen the unique children’s book.

After nearly two years of contemplation, writing and fine-tuning, Rohne submitted the manuscript to a publisher in Morton Grove, Illinois.

&8220;While they only publish 30 of the 5,000 manuscripts they receive each year, it was still disappointing to receive that letter of rejection,&8221; Rohne said.

Rohne felt the story had merit and decided to publish it herself. Armed with years of experience in both photography and computer skills, she digitally enhanced pictures of herself and Mary to create true-to-life drawings as the illustrations in the book.

After obtaining an ISBN number, she began doing readings and book signings throughout the area.

&8220;My daughter Mary was thrilled with the “celebrity” status and the attention,&8221; Rohne said.

This book can be used in counseling for parents with kids that are troubled by bad dreams.

As a bonus, the book comes with a special gift as security for young children to help them sleep better at night and alleviate bad dreams.

Rohne has published articles in Country Extra magazine about her grandparents and hopes to continue writing about her life and family.

Rohne said an entire “For Mary” collection is currently in the works.

“Bedtime For Mary” is available from the author or at Main Street Treasures in Northwood for $15.