Sue Cutler and Nancy Geruntino hope to change the world one book at a time.
Cutler, a kindergarten teacher at Monroe Elementary School in Plumwood, and Geruntino, a retired speech pathologist in Southwestern City Schools, recently published the first in a series of 14 children’s books they penned to entertain and build character.
“My Hair” is about the value of friendship and how to be a true friend.
The book stemmed from a 20-year friendship between Cutler and Geruntino and tells the tale of two contemporary English queens in the Kingdom of Giggledom. Queen Camilla Carnation Chrysanthemum (Cutler) rushes to fix the hairdo of Queen Gwyneth Geranium Gardenia (Geruntino) after other citizens of the kingdom are unable to better the bob.
“We would do anything to help each other. We want children to know what it means to be a friend. With friendship comes joy,” Geruntino said.
Columbus illustrator Paul Richmond gave the queens visual life — complete with pink hair and whimsical Victorian garb. They are flanked by equally colorful castle characters like the baker, jester, maid, gardener and knight.
Future silly predicaments of Camilla and Gwyneth will teach manners, honesty, acceptance, selflessness, responsibility and anti-bullying.
“Subject of our very next book is dumpster diving,” Cutler said. “It teaches readers to hold important things close to their hearts.”
While story lines are light, the books are deadly serious about meeting Common Core Standards of education.
“They teach rhyming, vocabulary, questioning and following directions…,” Cutler said. “We wanted books that are learning tools.”
Home schoolers will find the books valuable, as will teachers in pre-kindergarten through fifth-grade classrooms, she added.
Queen Gwyneth and Queen Camilla are up-to-date and online. Their queensplaytime.com website is free to users and reaches beyond the realm of paper and ink with suggested activities and a blog. Cutler said the site will eventually be interactive.
Cutler and Geruntino are not content to remain backstage while their literary creations bask in the spotlight.
Outfitted in royal gowns, the women plan to appear (in character) at libraries, senior citizen centers and hospitals to read their books and encourage good character and values. They also lend lilting English accents to a read-along CD version of “My Hair.”
While text for the next 13 books is complete, Cutler and Geruntino must rely on proceeds from “My Hair” to fund publication. Both women believe God has a plan to help make their mutual dream come true.
“We want to be the change that others want to see,” Cutler said.
“My Hair” is available for $9.99 through queensplaytime.com, as well as Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble mail order.