EMORY, Va. — An Emory author has penned a second children’s book as a gift to her granddaughter.
After self-publishing her first book, “Oatmeal and Lavender,” earlier last year, Ann Ledgerwood has written a sequel, “Coral Musick,” (CreateSpace, 2017, $9.95), a tender story about friendship, kindness and hope.
Ledgerwood, who wrote the first book as a birthday gift for her granddaughter, Riley Hart, enjoyed the process so much she decided to try it again.
“The purpose of the book is to give Riley a special keepsake — but also to give voice to issues, such as acceptance of others,” Ledgerwood said.
Riley, an eighth-grade student at Honaker High School, said the books are the best gifts she’s ever received. “It really means a lot that she took the time to do this for me. They are gifts that will never go out of style.”
The author knew she wanted to do something special when her granddaughter turned thirteen last March.
She didn’t want to give the teenager just a new pair of shoes or an outfit to wear to school.
“I decided to write a story for her. I had a desire to give her something that would be especially meaningful. I wanted to give her something that has lasting value.”
“I had never written a book before. My husband David and I write music, but that is different.”
Once again, the author turned to local artist Jonathan Davis to design the cover and provide illustrations for her new book, and she relied on friends and family members to help with editing.
The book was created online using CreateSpace, an Amazon company that is designed to help people independently publish and distribute books, music or films in physical or digital formats.
The second book continues the story of characters Annie Beth and Riley, 10-year-old children growing up in Russell County, Virginia. Annie Beth, who lives in a foster family, met her friend Riley through a mysterious bird that she named Oatmeal. The girls share adventures, laughter and a love of singing in the story that picks up where “Oatmeal & Lavender” ends.
Ledgerwood said the book concludes at Christmas 1969, an important year for the author, who shares many of her childhood memories through events in the book.
Many of the characters and places in the book are based on real-life events. “The main character is based on Riley, but other characters are developed from bits and pieces of other people. The book has a realistic setting in Southwest Virginia,” Ledgerwood explained.
Not only did the author dedicate the book to her granddaughter, she also wrote it to convey important life lessons for all children.
“The book is intended to be read by adults to and with children, to open up conversations about life lessons about friendship, acceptance of those who are different, and standing up for others,” she said.
“The book also brings up the topic of foster care, which is something very dear to me because I work with children in foster care,” said Ledgerwood, who is a pediatric physical therapist.
When one of her former patients, 10-year-old Colson Broyles, learned that she had written her first book, “Oatmeal and Lavender,” he couldn’t wait to read the story.
Colson, a fifth-grade student at High Point Elementary, said he’s learning the importance of friendship through her books. “I’m learning that you find more friends when you are a friend to people,” he said. “I’ve learned to treat people the way I want to be treated.”
The youth, an avid reader, said he was “excited and happy” when her second book became available. Colson and his mother, Jessica Broyles, read the book together, and Colson is reading it again on his own.
The author plans to donate the new book to several schools in Smyth and Washington counties.
After selling 30 copies to family and friends before Christmas, Ledgerwood has ordered additional copies that will be available at the Town Square Center for the Arts in Glade Spring by mid-January.
The book is also available online at Amazon.
Ledgerwood already is planning a third book, which also will be set in the Appalachian region.