NILES — Local writer Stephanie J. Salisbury is working to bring her first children’s book to life.
“Boz the Bee” tells the tale of the title character and his journey from hiding his true self to expressing his differences and encouraging others to do the same. The story, written by Salisbury, is drawn from her experience as a parent. Along with illustrations by artist Rachel Barton, they are working to bring the story to audiences with a crowdfunding campaign.
“I’ve always had quite an imagination,” Stephanie said. “My parents loved to hear when I came up with stories.”
She described a childhood in which she was encouraged both by family and school to express her vibrant imagination. She wrote her very first story, about the jealousy of a cousin, for a second grade project to create a book. As she moved through school, she found herself in gifted groups with extra projects.
Salisbury (formerly Stowe) was born and raised in Niles, graduated from Brandywine High in 1995 and the University of Michigan in 1999. She majored in English, with the intent to teach and write. After some experience as a student teacher, she realized that path was not for her, so she leaned heavily into writing, earning a degree in English Language and Literature.
While her passion lies in creative writing, she found, as most writers do, that it didn’t pay all that well, so she expanded to other opportunities. She’s worked as an editor, a columnist, and is currently self-employed, working with Chinese high school students hoping to attend college in the United States. She provides mentorship on essay writing and the many processes required to attend higher education. She also created a non-profit, Sagely College Advising, that provides assistance for college applicants from low-income backgrounds. All of this work provides the flexibility to continue creative writing.
“I’ve always been writing on the side,” Salisbury said.
She wrote her first novella in 2004. She’s also released short stories, poetry anthologies, and movie scripts. She wrote and performed a one woman play “And Then He Was Here” about years of infertility and finally getting pregnant. Before “Boz The Bee”, she had no aspirations for writing a children’s book. Having a young child of her own brought on the shift.
“I love writing and I love writing things that I know about,” she described. “I know a lot about kids at this point.”
“Boz The Bee” was born from a desire to teach children that differences are to be celebrated. The message is intended to teach both those being bullied that they should feel free to be themselves and those who are bullying that we are not intended to be all alike. Salisbury recounted a tale from her childhood when, after making a sarcastic comment while riding in the car, her mother pulled over and told her “you are not better than anyone else and no one is better than you.” That moment stuck with her, so she knows that it’s valuable and necessary to give children messages about acceptance and inclusion at a young age.
After numerous drafts, “Boz The Bee” is ready for the world. The first step is a crowdfunding campaign via Kickstarter. Supporters can preorder the book and receive extra incentives, depending on the amount given. The funds raised will be used for the preorders, as well as to support the printing of additional copies for book stores, libraries, and elementary schools. Salisbury’s biggest goal is to get the book and its message out to the world.
“As long as people are interested in the book, I will make sure the book is available,” she said.
Stephanie Salisbury plans to continue writing, likely focusing on more children’s books in the near future. She is also currently working on a musical project, Wingless, along with Rebecca Wilson. She can keep up with her writing at facebook.com/AuthorStephanieJSalisbury and you can preorder “Boz The Bee” at kickstarter.com.
Justin Flagel is the founder of Red Chuck Productions, where he writes, tells stories, and creates new media. Follow his work at redchuckproductions.com. Feedback can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Original published: https://www.leaderpub.com/2023/04/20/brandywine-grad-pens-first-childrens-book/