Local author visits Molly Stark, brings friend
BENNINGTON >> Local children's author Karen E. Rose stopped by Molly Stark Elementary School in Bennington on Thursday, and brought along one of the main characters from her book to meet the students.
Rose, a resident of Shaftsbury, is the author of "Pixie and Fenway: Unlikely Friends at Two Mountain Farm," the true story of a house cat and a chicken who end up becoming friends. The book, which was self-published but is available on Amazon.com and at Northshire Bookstore in Manchester, was illustrated by several local children, including Kyra Stratton, a second-grader from Molly Stark, who has six pictures included in the book. Stratton's half-sister, Trinity Rose (no relation to the author), who attends Mount Anthony Union Middle School, also has an illustration featured in the book.
Rose said the story began to take shape when she had to separate Pixie, the chicken, from the other chickens, who were attacking her and plucking out her feathers. Rose put Pixie in a small coop on their front porch, but eventually gave her free roam of the porch, to stretch her legs. It was at this time that the family cat, Fenway, an indoor cat who Rose often saw looking longingly at the chickens and other animals through the windows, wandered onto the enclosed porch. Rose was afraid that Fenway would treat Pixie like a plaything, but the two quickly become close, and now spend much time each day together.
Rose began posting pictures of the two on social media, and got a very positive response. "My friends said, you have to blog about this, you have to write a book, because there's such a good lesson," she said. While she had never thought about writing a children's book before, she decided to give it a try.
So far, reactions to the book have been very positive. All six reviews on Amazon currently give the book five stars. Rose said she has been told that kids have really enjoyed the book, and that she is excited to be taking the book to schools now as children are, "the best audience, and the truest critics."
Students in kindergarten through second grade came down to see the reading, in three groups, and participated by making animals sounds throughout the presentation. After she finished reading the book, Rose asked the students, "Does anybody here have a friend that's different than you? Why are you friends with them?" The students gave her examples of friends who live on different streets, or who are different genders, and Rose explained that people can still be friends, even if they dress differently, or live in different places, or like different sports teams.
"Just like Pixie and Fenway, we can accept difference in each other and still be really good friends," she said.
All of the students who participated got stickers of the cover of the book, but the big surprise came when, as the students were about to leave, Rose revealed that Pixie had come along with her. All of the students got the chance to pet the chicken, and Rose's mother was on hand to make sure they used hand sanitizer afterwards.
Rose said that she is considering writing a second book about another one of her chickens, Lemon, who was born without eyes. To follow updates about Rose's writing, you can follow her page on Facebook at 'facebook.com/karen.e.rose.3'.
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