BENNINGTON — Local author Karen E. Rose returned to the Molly Stark School on Monday, bringing along a new friend, Lemon, the main character of her latest children's book, "A Sweet Lemon."
Rose, from Shaftsbury, first visited the school last May to present to the children her first book, "Pixie and Fenway: Unlikely Friends at Two Mountain Farm," which told the true story of a cat and a chicken on her farm who became friends. The book was filled with illustrations done by local students. A Molly Stark student, Kyra Stratton, had six of her pictures chosen for inclusion in the book. For "A Sweet Lemon," Rose received 225 submissions for the 22 pictures needed for the book. Molly Stark students ended up drawing almost half of the book's illustrations, with 10 students' artwork selected for inclusion.
The students whose artwork was included in the book were Cash Campolungo, third grade, Mady Spencer, second grade, Stratton, third grade, Kevin Nguyen, fifth grade, Amara Bradford, fifth grade, Ryan Lin, fifth grade, Alexis Lillie, third grade, Ava Hughes, 2nd grade, Jasmine Peters, fifth grade, and Julia Wara, fifth grade. Librarian Allyson Hoffman organized the submissions at Molly Stark. Rose said that no students from other Bennington area schools had illustrations in the book, with many of the others coming from the northern part of the state.
"A Sweet Lemon" is another true story from Two Mountain Farm, this time telling the story of Lemon, a chicken who was born with no eyes, who came to the farm last spring. Lemon, who had to live in her own special coop, where everything had to be attached to the floor so that she couldn't knock it over, became fast friends with Pixie and Fenway. Rose said that Lemon eventually learned how to do everything the other chickens do, it just took a little bit longer for her.
The book ends (Spoiler alert!), with Lemon laying her first egg. When Rose asked the students, fifth graders for this particular presentation (though she saw students from every grade over the course of the day), what lesson they thought Lemon was trying to teach, one student responded, "Even though you have a disability, you can still do great things."
After each presentation, Rose introduced the real Lemon, who the children had an opportunity to pet.
Rose now has three books, including an activity book, available for purchase on Amazon.com. You can learn more about her at her website, twomtnfarmbooks.com.