When I was in first grade many years ago, I attended McKinley Elementary School. The school is located in Xenia, Ohio. One of the few memories that I have left in those early childhood years was the library. The library inside the school was different than most. It didn’t have doors to go through. The library was in the middle of the building with a completely open concept design. The classrooms circled all around the section that the library was located. It was quite an interesting site to see when you walk around the school building. As a kid and being able to seeing all those books as we walked those hallways each and every day-it was a sight to see. There were stacks upon stacks of books that varied in all genres. All sorts of genres and encyclopedias scattered the large area. The tables would fill want little space that the books didn’t take over. For us, it seemed like the library had every book that you could think of at that time. Popular book series at the time were your basics.
You had the Dr. Seuss books that explored the imaginative spectrum with amusing characters spitting out rhymes with playfulness and joy. Take one of most popular books the Dr. Seuss released Green Eggs and Ham. Here’s an excerpt from the classic: “I do not them in a house. I do not like them with a mouse. I do not like them here or there. I do not like them anywhere. I do not like green and ham. I do not like them, Sam-I-am.”
Don’t forget about Where The Wild Things Are. Remember Max?! Max was your typical child. Max’s fantasies and creativity were as uninhabited and eccentric as any typical youngster. One night at home, Max climbs into his wolf costume and starts to wreak havoc and cause all sorts of trouble. Max chases the family dog around with a fork as an example. His mother becomes aggravated with her son, and calls him ‘Wild Thing’, and orders him to go to his room without supper. Max alters his ordinary bedroom to a picturesque island that are inhabited by cruel and mischievous beasts that are known as the “Wild Things.” After giving intimating and frolicking with the creatures, Max is crowned king. All is well till Max decides to held back home. The creatures are saddened by the news, but reluctantly let him go back to his normal life.
Dr. Seuss and Maurice Sendak’s books mentioned above compare nothing to my favorite children’s book series- Berenstain Bears. I can remember looking at the back of the books that I was able to get ahold of (those books were quite the hot commodity for us youngsters) and trying to figure out which ones I haven’t read yet. The stories of Papa, Mama, Brother, Sister, and Honey Bear that lived in a big treehouse in Bear Country were fun and interesting. Each book would contain an important message of sportsmanship, caring for others, not talking to strangers among others. I loved the books growing up. McKinley always seemed to have the latest Berentstain Bears books, which always got me excited to read those books even more.
In the city of Tipp City, you can go and visit the local library in town. Also in the small town, there is a charming little bookstore called Browse Awhile Books. While browsing through their wide-ranging collection of exceptional books that span from many genres, styles, years-you will find the assortment of children books that will continue those traditions for you to keep living with your own boys and girls written by local author Meaghan Fisher.
For Meaghan, her road towards writing all began when she was in 6th grade. With her mother working a couple of jobs to help make ends meet, Fisher would spend a lot of time with her brother at home and would write poetry. For several years, she would dive into the world of poetry, exploring the different elements and subjects. Fisher’s poetry has been well-received as over twenty pieces of her work was published. She also has won a couple of awards for her work. That following summer, Fisher continued to write more and more. At one point, she penned a novel. Unfortunately for Fisher, she unexplainably lost the book while she was moving to another place with her family.
As Fisher got a little bit older, her love her children led her to land a nanny gig with her neighbor’s kids. Around that neighborhood, Fisher would meet what would eventually end up being her husband, Tim. When it came time for Fisher to head to college, she started at the University of Cincinnati. When Tim graduated college, he too an offer for a job down in Maryland. While living in Maryland, Meaghan received her psych degree and minor in women’s studies.
Meaghan decided after graduating from the University of Maryland, she would enroll into grad school. The program focused on children whose family is going through divorce. Fisher wanted to give assistance and also to teach kids that going through such a difficult situation like seeing their parents no longer be together, the end result wasn’t their fault. Even when they think it was, Meaghan aspired to show children of divorce that it things were going to be okay. The program didn’t fare well with Fisher (along with several of her peers that were involved) due to numerous factors. With the frustrations of the grad program that she was involved in, Fisher decided to leave and take some time off. With her departure, the thoughts and vision of children book writing really started to come into her sights around this time.
Meaghan and Tim moved back home to Troy, and she joined a writing group. The goal while being a part of the writing group was simply to pen more poetry. “No one was writing poetry. Just me”, Fisher explains. “They (the others in the group) all wrote for women’s magazines as freelance writers, and they were the big time for me.” The group helped Meaghan improve not only her own works, but also gain a better understanding on how to get the finished product sent out. On a business trip of Tim’s that had him travel to Reno, Meaghan tagged along. She brought a laptop that purchased a short time after taking part in her grad program, and had intentions on using it then. With Tim working most of the time while being in Reno, Meaghan made a decision. “We were there for a week, and I had this brand new computer that I got for school and now I wasn’t going to use it…so I said that I will sit down and write this story that I have been thinking about for a while.”
When the story was finished being typed up, but there were three ways that Meaghan had the book ending. She didn’t know which way to go. During a walk one night, she ran across one of her old grade school teachers, Mrs. Gallagher. Mrs. Gallagher noticed Fisher’s remarkable talent of writing when she had Meaghan in her junior high days. “I saw her and told her that I am in a predicament and I don’t know what to do”, Meaghan says when she ran into her teacher. “I told her that I wrote this silly book and I don’t know how to end it. She said to let her see it. It took three weeks to pry it out of my hands.” When Fisher received the book back from Mrs. Gallagher, the whole transcript was marked up with the classic red ink. We all know that red ink. Splashed all over our papers with the suggestions and corrections that are needed to be done. “She said that it was good, and she said that it needed to be published.” The book, which hasn’t been never released, puts the emphasis on five commandants that she grew up on. Some of them include helping those less fortunate, no fighting, sharing is caring, etc. The book gave Fisher the drive and initiative to pursue writing more children books.
The first book, Sadie the Skunk, was published and released in 2009. The book centers around the title character who goes on a journey to discover her home and find out what type of animal she is. Sadie believes that she is a cat until one of her sibling’s points out that she is very different from the rest. In 2010, Lars the Monkey was released. Lars is wanting to learn how to fly so he can share his passion for flight. Lars is all set to learn how to fly and discovers that the pilot that gives rides, including one for Lars, has gone missing. Lars wants and works to save the day for the other passengers. The third book, I Love Ladybugs! is inspired by real events that occurred with Fisher’s daughter, Emma, when she was only 9 months old. Giuseppe’s Famous Pizza Pies, the story of the pizza chef in Rome who has to figure out what needs to be done when his vendor’s cart breaks down. Mousekabitz has a great place that he is residing at till he is discovered by the human family and their dog. Mousekabitz runs into an unfamiliar hole, and isn’t sure where to go next. Following Mousekabitz is Tyler the Fish Saves Lake Erie. Tyler and his friend Jimmy work with a team to help clean the lake before becomes poisoned. Fisher’s newest book, If I Could Pull The Moon From The Sky, will be released this July. When you read each of the books, Fisher really pushes to have the theme of having good morals, being kind to others, no fighting come out in each of her stories. The amount published isn’t near the amount that Fisher has saved. “I have over 90 stories that probably will never published because of time.” Let’s only hope that changes.
Meaghan Fisher’s persistence, dedication, and drive when it has come to her career has found her seeing success come in all corners. Fisher will be traveling to New York, Maryland, New Jersey this summer. She will be doing signings, and visiting schools for readings of her books. In July, Fisher plans to be headlining the Summer Moon Festival in Wapakoneta for the release of her new book. Fisher is even working with an educational company in South Korea to have her stories. With all the accomplishments, which includes having fans from California to all over at Australia, the only goal Fisher has-having the kids the stories. “When I am in front of the kids, I’m reading to them and they say ‘I love it! Do it again’, is when I am happy. This is my mission.”
For more info about this amazing author, click on Fisher’s fan page here. While you are there, grab a book. Who knows-maybe it will go down just like the books that were dear to you and me when we were younger.
Going to that library and collecting all these unbelievable works from our youth will bring back some fond memories.