Co-owner of local day care center publishes first in a series of children's books

By Lauri Voter - Staff Writer
Willington - posted Tue., Feb. 15, 2011
Barbara Meredith has recently published a new children's book featuring her cat, Daisy. Photo by Lauri Voter.
Barbara Meredith has recently published a new children's book featuring her cat, Daisy. Photo by Lauri Voter.

Barbara J. Meredith is not only the co-owner of Kids Express Learning Center and Daycare, LLC in Willington, but is also an author of children's books.

In fact, she has written a series of books that features her cat, Daisy, as the main character. The first book in that series, “Daisy and Friends: How to Stay Healthy,” was released on Dec. 10, 2010, and is available for purchase online through both Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Meredith’s cast of characters is based on her own pets. The main character - Daisy the cat - is joined by Smokie the silver Lab and Rocky the German shepherd. A fourth character, Dee the Rottweiler, is not one of Meredith’s own pets, but has been added as a character. Together, this foursome conveys messages to children about staying healthy.

Meredith says she first got the idea to write “How to Stay Healthy” from Daisy, who jumped from toilet to the bathroom sink one day. When Daisy jumped over to the sink, Meredith thought, “Why can’t kids do that?” Meredith observed the behaviors of her animals, and incorporated these into her story as a method to teach children.

Initially, writing a book was not Meredith’s goal. Instead, she was going to create what she calls an “outline book.” That changed when publishing her books looked promising.

“I looked up publishers, and never got a refusal. I was very surprised,” said Meredith.

“I took pictures of whatever the animals were doing, and put it into a storyline. The Rottweiler is not mine, but I was able to take pictures,” explained Meredith.

Rather than self-publish her stories, Meredith enlisted the services of a regular publisher, Strategic Publishing Group. “Since it was my first book, I thought I would go with a regular publisher,” said Meredith.

Readers can look forward to three more upcoming titles in the series.

The second book is “Daisy and Friends: Waiting for the Schoolbus.”

“I'm putting the illustrations together to be sent to the publisher's illustration department,” said Meredith.

The third book, “Daisy and Friends: Smokie's New Necklace,” is about jealousy.

“It's in outline form, ready for critiquing,” said Meredith.

The fourth book will be “Daisy and Friends: Rocky’s New Friend,” which will address bullying.

“I'm still doing research on that one. It's such a hot topic that I want to make sure all of my information is correct,” explained Meredith.

Those interested in meeting Meredith and purchasing “Daisy and Friends: How to Stay Healthy,” can stop by one of the author’s two scheduled events: March 26 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at His & Hers Elegant Edge Salon, located in Ashford; and April 19 at 6:30 p.m. at the Willington Public Library, located at 7 Ruby Road.

Those who purchase the book will not only support this local author, but will also help to support four animal charities. Kitty Angels of Coventry, Bandit's Place of East Hartford, Protectors of Animals of East Hartford and the A.S.P.C.A. will all receive a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the book.

“My goal is to help these charities through contributions from my book,” said Meredith.

Daisy will be proud. After all, she was adopted from Kitty Angels by Meredith and her husband. A once homeless cat has now become a feline heroine in children’s literature.

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