By Ally Lanasa, Staff Writer
(Oct. 29, 2020) The Greyhound Independent Bookstore and Fine Arts Gallery, 9 S. Main St., welcomed three authors for book signings in conjunction with Oktoberfest on Oct. 17.
Pamella A. Russell, who has lived in Berlin for over 20 years, has released her debut children’s book, “Adventures of the Sací Kids: A New Home.”
Russell lived in São Paulo, Brazil for six years, from the age of 15 to 21 years old. She developed a love for the Brazilian people, culture, language, music and the rich folklore.
Sací-Pererê is one of Brazil’s most popular folk characters.
Sací is a one-legged prankster in a magical red cap, who smells like rotten eggs and travels in a dust tunnel. He was made famous by the renowned Brazilian author Monteiro Lobato (1882-1948).
“He didn’t really invent Sací because Sací was already a product of the slaves … that the Portuguese brought over from Africa, but he is the one who really made it into a children’s character, and his book became a classic in Brazil,” Russell said.
Her book, which was self-published through Xlibris, redefines family and teaches the importance of love and belonging through four main characters: Holly, 11, Ethan, 13, Drew, 12, and Ashley, 8.
The children have all been placed in a foster home, where they meet Sací.
“We have so many homeless children in our country,” Russell said. “I came from the foster care system, and so that’s kind of near and dear to my heart as well, that foster children be found in good, happy, healthy homes, where they can feel loved and safe. And I tried to project that a little bit in the foster home these children lived in.”
Russell also hopes her book introduces young American readers to the famous folk character and ignites a joy in multiculturalism.
“There is so much beauty in the stories and the cultures of other countries,” she said.
“Adventures of the Saci Kids: A New Home” targets children ages 9 to 12 and is available on Amazon and at Barnes & Noble in paperback for $14.99, hardcover for $23.99 and e-book for $3.99. The Greyhound sells paperback and hardcover copies as well.
Russell added that she plans to give copies to the county libraries in Delaware in Milton, Greenwood and South Coastal in Bethany Beach.
Russell is the former assistant director of the Sussex County Delaware Libraries. She retired in 2005.
“As a librarian, I just want children to read,” she added. “As a matter of fact, that’s what I write in a lot when I sign the books, ‘Read, read and read!’”
Russell plans to do a few sequels and then some translating of multicultural literature.
“I’d love to be able to do more translating than writing,” Russell said. “I’d love to be able to get some of these Brazilian children’s books and get them translated into English because they have so much to offer.”
For more information, visit www.sacikids.com.
Ocean Pines resident Ellen Krawczak wrote her first book, “Ollie Gives a Hoot,” when she was making up stories for her granddaughter.
“It just came to me,” Krawczak said. “It just kind of evolved. I wanted something that would be suitable for a child. I didn’t set out to do a message, but that’s the way it ended up.”
The book is about an owl who doesn’t want to attend a birthday party. He rather be alone, but gradually he learns how nice it is to have friends, Krawczak said.
She hopes young readers recognize the importance of being a good friend through the narrative.
“Ollie Gives a Hoot,” which targets children between 4 and 6 years old, was published in September 2019 by Salt Water Media.
The book is available at The Greyhound, Barnes & Noble and Amazon in paperback for $10.
“I just hope whoever reads my book finds it fun,” Krawczak added.
Krawczak plans to continue writing children’s books for her other grandchildren.
“I have another one that should be coming out in December,” she said.
Prior to her literary adventure, Krawczak had a varied career as a paralegal, a substitute teacher, and then she worked on real estate settlements.
She retired in 2009 and moved to Ocean Pines.
The Greyhound also hosted Pennsylvania native Karen St. James to promote her book, “Ocean Pines.”
“Growing up in a family with seven kids, we really didn’t get to go anywhere or do anything,” St. James said. “I mean, your whole world was the city you grew up in.”
As a teenager, St. James was invited by a friend to go to the beach for the first time, and they stayed in Ocean Pines.
“I loved the quaint town so much that I never forgot it,” St. James said. “The book was written years ago as more of a hobby and only recently became available to the public. I am so excited to be launching the book where it started.”
St. James wrote “Ocean Pines” over the course of three years while working two jobs and raising a daughter.
“I had to really write at the end of the night, when I would put my daughter to bed,” she said.
The women’s novel is based in Ocean Pines, where Cassandra Blake returns after the passing of her father.
“I felt like [Ocean Pines] would be a really great place for my main character to have her retreat house,” St. James said. “She and her father are very wealthy, but they escaped to Ocean Pines and that was like their world away from the world.”
“Ocean Pines,” which was published by Triskelion Publishing, is a story of redemption and romance.
In the novel, Blake is the heir to the largest private ownership of newspapers and magazines in the country.
“When the book opens up, she’s a little lost. She has all this money and this amazing company, but … it was handed to her,” St. James said. “It was literally handed to her, and she was expected to carry it through. But that’s not the life she wanted for herself.”
Although Blake is very well-off financially, St. James believes female readers can connect with her through shared struggles and difficult decision-making.
“I would just hope that my main character shows that through all the hardships and adversity, that you can come out the other side. You can still chase your dreams,” she said. “I hope that it would inspire women who sort of look to the future and have a long way to go or feel like they have a long way to go, to feel like whatever their dreams are, whatever their goals are, are attainable.”
Paperback copies of the novel are available at The Greyhound and the Ocean Pines branch of the Worcester County Public Library for $14.95.
The book can also be purchased on karenstjames.com beginning in November.
From her visits for research to her recent book signing, St. James said she always encounters friendly residents near Ocean Pines.
“I find the people in the area to be incredibly gracious. I love the welcoming feeling that you get there of community,” St. James said. “Everybody has a lot of pride and love for the area up there. I’ve often thought about relocating there because I just love the sense of community. So, that’s my takeaway. I just feel like it’s a home away from home, even though I’ve never lived there.”
Currently, St. James is a freelance writer and teacher in Central Florida. She also has 15 years of public relations experience related to tourism.