Children’s book author, Tracy Schlepphorst, visited Salem Lutheran school in Jacksonville this past Wednesday. The author, a native of Quincy, brought with her three books about trying to understand and convey negative emotions into a positive experience. The books being “Eden and Her Happy,” about a young girl who wakes up one day and believes her happiness is gone. The second titled “Henry and His Manners,” which the children seemed to like a lot, where a young boy wakes up without his manners. He then spends the day watching his manners trying to catch him. “Eden and Her Joy” seemed to be the most personal to Tracy, as she explained in the introduction of herself that she has taken many aspects of her life and experiences with grief and loss into her books to hopefully help the children to realize that there are going to be those days that you aren’t sure you can get through but, when the day comes to a close you are strong enough and absolutely have the courage to make it through.
The children of Salem Lutheran really seemed to embrace Tracy’s warm nature and the excitement in which she embraces the students and her stories as well as speaking to the children with respect in a very caring tone of reading. Tracy, a graduate of Missouri State University received her bachelor’s degree in Special Education, as well as her master’s degree in School Counseling from the University of Southern Mississippi. She learned what grief was at a very young age, she was just six years old when her father passed away from cancer. Wanting to live a normal, play filled life as a child should have, she couldn’t seem to get over what she says felt like a cloud of sadness which hungover her childhood home. As a child dealing with the grief of her father, she wasn’t sure how to deal with all the emotions that ran through her mind and heart. She hopes to lend a helping hand to children who have dealt with loss, giving them a muse and a way for them to express themselves through words. Though the book is meant for children, sitting in on a reading of the three of them you can see how genuine and meaningful the books can be for people of all ages. In a young stage of life, dealing with emotions in a positive way, having a healthy way to let your emotions out can truly affect you in the developmental and latter stages of life.
Tracy has had her share of emotional trauma and chooses to instead of doing as most would and just throw the towel in, has decided to help children in the elementary years through her words and plush dolls which are the manners in “Henry and His Manners.” Reminding the children, with a physical representation of manners, to actually remember to bring their manners with them when they go out into public.
Tracy invites you to visit her website at emotionbellybooks.com where all of her books are available.