Local authors delve into fantasy, education

Scamper and the Very First Christmas by Glenna Oliver of Pleasant View

By Tobie Baker Journal staff writer

A children’s Christmas book, a novel about a delusional woman and a self-help teacher’s companion have all been recently authored by three area women.

A Christmas story

Scamper and the Very First Christmas is a children’s book by Glenna Oliver of Pleasant View. She penned the story to explain the true meaning of Christmas to her grandchildren.

On Christmas Eve, Scamper, the smallest bear in the forest, is excited when his mother lets him go with his older siblings to deliver Christmas goodies to their family and friends. On the journey, Scamper becomes lost and comes face to face with Dudley, a lone gray wolf feared by all.

“In a very heart-warming way, Scamper hears the Christmas story, gains a new friend and learns the true meaning of Christmas,” Oliver explained.

As a secretary at Lewis-Arriola School, Oliver exercised her creative potential as a playwright writing Christmas plays for the staff to perform for the students. Scamper and the Very First Christmas is her debut book.

A new reality

Abigail Phelps is a fictional character surrounded by real people in fictional situations.

Author Bethany Turner of Cortez said her book, Abigail Phelps: Reality in the Eye of the Beholder, is an attempt to blur the line between reality and fantasy. While the reader knows the story is fictional, Turner said she hopes those same readers remain unsure.

“Abigail has her own Twitter page, as does her psychiatrist,” Turner explained. “I blog and do other social networking as Abigail, just to push along the blurry line between reality and fantasy a little more.”

In the book, once Sen. Ted Kennedy admits Abigail Phelps into a psychiatric facility, a psychiatrist encourages Phelps to write down all her delusions, including claims that she filmed Out of Africa with actor Robert Redford. Just when the psychiatrist is convinced that Abigail has finally lost all touch with reality, he discovers the truth hidden in Abigail’s fantasy is the most difficult of all to believe.

“It’s a heartbreaking story about a woman whose real life was more grand and dramatic and unbelievable than any of the stories she ever created,” Turner said.

Back to school

With more than 20 years of teaching experience, Dr. Barbara Rousseau spied two emerging classroom trends: escalating dropout rates and high teacher turnover.

“The more I observed, investigated and personally experienced this troubling pattern, the more convinced I became that we need to support teachers – those to whom we entrust generations of future professionals, the general labor force and citizens,” Rousseau explained. “It seemed to me that professional development – despite its value – just wasn’t going deeply enough.”

Rousseau argues that deep self-reflection is the key to classroom success, saying that the more we know ourselves, the more empowered our world becomes. Her new book, Your Conscious Classroom, features her personal war stories as well as transformational experiences teaching in Thailand, the Navajo reservation and a challenging inner-city charter school.

A third generation Coloradan, longtime Mancos resident and part-time yoga instructor, Rosseau has book signings at the Cortez Elks Lodge on Sunday, Dec. 15, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and at Artisans of Mancos on Friday, Dec. 20, from 5 to 8 p.m.

All three books are available for purchase at amazon.com.


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