I believe strongly in the power of literacy and am dedicated to inspiring students to be passionate readers and writers. My love of West Virginia and my desire to inform others about a small part of the history and culture of this great state, and my love of family, students and all children inspired me to write my books.

In “Emma,” I hope to teach young teens to be empathetic and to help create for them a deeper understanding of inequality. It is my hope to help young teens navigate this complex and sometimes difficult part of their life with more confidence and with reassurance that they are not alone in their struggles.

My students inspired me to write “Emma.” We were discussing events of the ’60s and ’70s and focusing on the Civil Rights Era. I shared with them some of my experiences in middle school at Park, in Beckley, when busing for integration was in place. I wanted my students to understand and feel the emotion of that era as I experienced it.

The book naturally progressed to other areas of concern for teens – problems that most of us face when coming of age. I wanted them to know that they were not alone in the issues they may face, and that they were also not alone in their struggle to make the right decisions and choices. “Emma” is meant to provide understanding, reassurance, empathy, and comfort for young adolescent/teen readers.

When I began writing “Mystery Kisses and Chicken Poop,” it was to be a gift of thanks to my grandfather. Later, it was to be a gift to my grandchildren to help them learn about their heritage.

As I wrote more, I began sharing it with my students, and they loved hearing the sweet, funny stories. I began to realize that the stories were perfect for parents and grandparents to share with their families, as it conveys the beauty and value of strong family relationships.

“Mystery Kisses and Chicken Poop” has valuable lessons to inspire students to do their best work and to make the most of their school experience. It demonstrates the value and intrinsic rewards for a job well done. Young girls will be inspired to be bold and set high goals. It helps children, and reminds adults, to appreciate simple pleasures.

Tammy Donahue

Beckley

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