After hearing that her 8-year old grandniece was being bullied by children at school, Karen Snyder was moved to do something.
How could she reach out to kids? Write a children’s book!
At 66 years old, the Lake Elsinore resident’s book, “Beyond Bullying, Fair Weather Friends: Loony Lori” (Outskirts Press, 2012), is a collaboration between she and husband Jim: she penned the words, he drew the illustrations.
But it didn’t happen overnight.
“The original story was written 14 years ago and I was waiting for my busy husband to have time to do the illustrations,” Snyder explained. “I forgot about it until he suffered a near-fatal heart attack and decided to do my illustration while he was recovering.”
Snyder’s book is set in the mid-1950s and tells the story of a new freckle-faced girl – Lori -- who joins a third grade class. Lori dresses differently from the other girls, plays with boys at recess, and stands out as not being like the others. However, popular Marsha seeks her out and they immediately bond, “making a cross-your-heart-hope-to-die promise to walk home together every day,” Snyder explained.
The next school day, Marsha confronts her girlfriends for calling the new kid, “Loony Lori.” The girls turn on Marsha and the popular classmate must now pick a side.
“The clothes and children's games may have changed with the times, but the lesson learned in this book can be applied today,” Snyder said, noting that her grandniece is now grown with a young daughter of her own. “The term ‘fair-weather friend’ is explained in language a child can comprehend.”
Snyder is busy promoting her new book, and it’s keeping her busy.
“I am 66 going on 100,” she said.
The author has lived in Lake Elsinore with her husband since 1982, having moved from Rockford, Ill.
According to her biography, Snyder has three small dogs and has been active in community service for many years. She has received awards for her work from various organizations. She has chaired several boards and has been elected to serve in public office. Karen is listed in Marquis’ 23rd edition of "Who’s Who in the West."
“Loony Lori” is available online in paperback through Amazon and Barnes and Noble and at www.outskirtspress.com/bookstore.