The write stuff

Tallgrass Creek resident authors books celebrating children and learning

Created date

June 20th, 2019
Tallgrass Creek residents Carol Murray (left) and Dede McLeroy prepare for a reading of Cricket in the Thicket at The Learning Tree, a local children’s toy and book store. Carol wrote the playful book along with eight other children’s books.

Tallgrass Creek residents Carol Murray (left) and Dede McLeroy prepare for a reading of Cricket in the Thicket at The Learning Tree, a local children’s toy and book store. Carol wrote the playful book along with eight other children’s books.

Above Carol Murray’s computer in her sunny home at Tallgrass Creek, in Overland Park, Kans., is a blue-and-white plaque that says “Your story begins at home.” 

Carol, the author of nine children’s books, says that is where all her stories begin. 

“You don’t have to go far to find wonderful things to write about,” says Carol. “For instance, my new book takes a fun look at some of the insects and bugs that are all around us.”

Titled Cricket in the Thicket, the colorful book was published in 2017 by Christy Ottaviano Books for Henry Holt and Company and illustrated by award-winning illustrator Melissa Sweet. 

The playful Cricket in the Thicket highlights 29 common bugs in informative, whimsical poems. It includes a unique factoid about each bug along with an extensive glossary at the back of the book.   

“I want children to enjoy my books and learn a little along the way,” says Carol, whose favorite insect is a ladybug.  

A lifetime of writing

Carol grew up and raised her family outside of Hutchinson, Kans. She calls herself a “one-woman Chamber of Commerce” for her beloved hometown. 

“My family has always written poems for all sorts of occasions,” says Carol, who taught speech and English at Hutchinson Community College. “So using poetry in my books comes naturally.” 

Ideas for her books came about over the years as she and her late husband Max raised their two sons. 

Carol’s first books, Jenny’s Socks and Hurry Up!, were published in 2002 by Children’s Press. 

Jenny’s Socks is available in Spanish, and she recently received a copy of Cricket in the Thicket translated into Chinese. Her books are available in bookstores and on Amazon.com. 

Carol’s poems have also appeared in several anthologies and children’s periodicals including the popular Highlights for Children

“I’ve had some success but received plenty of rejections along the way,” laughs Carol. “I write because I love to write, no matter what happens.”

Looking ahead

Future plans for Carol include involvement in a new national children’s book museum called The Rabbit Hole, currently underway in Kansas City, Mo. Several nationally known children’s writers and illustrators are involved in plans for the museum which celebrates children’s literature.

Since moving to Tallgrass Creek a year ago, Carol has also become involved in some of the “wonderful activities” around her new home. 

She is a member of the Lifelong Learning Committee that reviews the community’s learning opportunities, which include hosting guest speakers and lecturers. She also participates in group exercise classes on campus. 

Carol continues to find much to write about in her new home at Tallgrass Creek.

“It’s a new vista,” says Carol. “There are many talented, caring people here with their own stories to tell. Inspiration is still all around me.”

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