|Mary Ann Wittman|
Wittman was inspired to write the book after shopping for a Christmas tree one cold, snowy night at Westlake Hardware. "I looked over and saw some small, rather skinny trees and felt somehow sad at the thought that they would probably not get chosen," says Wittman. "It made me think about how it feels to be left out, to be somehow unacceptable, to be lonely. I decided there was a story to be told."
She completed the book in about two months. Once a rough copy was complete, Wittman needed an illustrator. "Originally, I had planned to have my older daughter illustrate the book. However, her time commitment to grad school in distant California prevented this from happening," Wittman says. "I found Andy (the illustrator) kind of by accident. He serves on our Adult Education Center Advisory Council. We were visiting one evening after a meeting and I discovered he is an artist." One thing led to another, and soon local artist Andy Valdivia was on board to illustrate the story. "His illustrations are beautiful and really capture the mood of the story." Valdivia also put her in touch with Jack Cobos, owner of Jack Cobos Design, also in Topeka. Wittman says, "The three of us got together and decided to keep this entirely a local endeavor." The book was printed by Jostens, Inc. in Topeka, and the first copies are now available. The book sells for $10 (tax included) and can be purchased by contacting Mary Ann Wittman at firstname.lastname@example.org, or her publisher at email@example.com or business phone 785.266.8787.
Wittman will have a book signing at Above All Books and Gifts, 2607 SW 21st on Saturday, Nov. 19 at 1 p.m., and at Eclective at 900 N. Kansas on December 2 during the First Friday Art Walk. Books will also be available for sale at the Washburn Tech Holiday Fair on Saturday, Nov. 12 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. See the flyer for her book here.
She is presently working on two more children's book for publication in 2012. Wittman has been the Adult Education Coordinator for TPS for the past 14 years.