In Laura Kelly’s first children’s book, The PolkaPlaid School on Turner Creek, readers enter a world where a child’s simple desire to make others happy creates the power to change how an entire school and their parents relate to and treat one another.
The book’s young change-agent, Jackson, sees the world a little differently than most. Born with Down syndrome, he simply wants those around him to be happy, no matter their belief system, appearance, social status, race or religion (represented in the book by polka-dots and plaids). When Mallory, the new student who wears plaid AND polka-dots, arrives in Mrs. Misenheimer’s class, no one will speak to or play with her—no one, except Jackson.
With Mallory’s kindness and quiet self-confidence, the other children take note and soon things begin to change at the school with no name on Turner Creek. Upset over the children not sticking to their polka-dot and plaid party lines, the parents call a meeting. With the help of Jackson, Mallory, Mrs. Misenheimer and all the children, the parents finally realize: We’re not alike and that’s the point! The school on the banks of Turner Creek finally gets its name and the people of Turner Creek find true happiness.
A former school-teacher herself, Kelly says that the story was born from years of teaching elementary school and being a room mother for her two boys’ classes. The author’s wish is that all parents, “will one day put their beliefs and judgments aside and support schools in their quest to nurture children in a learning environment chock full of love, respect and appreciation.” Kelly adds that a teacher who feels supported by her students’ families is ultimately empowered to create amazing results.
Orders for the book have been strong, along with widespread support from both the educational front and the retail sector. Kathryn Cook, Owner, Learning Express-Dallas said, “Laura Kelly inspires us to recognize differences in each other and accept the polka-dots and plaids in everyone. The book is a delightful read-aloud story with bright and colorful illustrations!”
The book is available for purchase at her online store. Laura Kelly is available for book signings, special appearances and educational seminars.