Arkansas City native Rachel Ghram has published her first children’s book and is planning a book signing.
The book is set to hit Steamy Joe on Monday. Ghram said she wants to start with an Ark City release first, then maybe move into a larger market.
“I have a passion for children and have always loved to make up little stories to encourage or teach my children as they are growing up,” she said.
“I always liked to write, but when I had children, it gave me a reason to.”
Steamy Joe also will be the site of a book signing from 9 to 11 a.m. April 21.
Ghram is hoping to include many of the individuals who influenced the book, if they are able to attend.
Ghram book’s origins
Ghram is married and has five children between the ages of 10 and 29.
Her book, entitled “Art in the Park,” was the direct result of a bullying situation her youngest son found himself in about a year ago.
But the characters found in the book are based on a few Ark City residents.
“When Steamy Joe opened almost (three) years ago, I was hired to manage the front counter by my good friends, Ruth and Randy Ryel,” Ghram said.
“From the beginning, there were six to eight guys that would come in early every morning for coffee. Over time, I got to know them and enjoyed their antics’ bringing a smile to my face daily. In teasing, I would laugh and tell them, ‘Someday, I’m going to write a book about you guys!’”
The regulars she was inspired by were Tom Bailey, Russell Graves, Delbert Hatcher, John Nehrine, Art O’Donnell and Duane Sparks.
“I used the guys and their personalities as inspiration for the characters, and wrote an anti-bullying book for them and my son,” Ghram said.
“Art in the Park” is a story about a pair of friends and their dog who find themselves on an adventure in a park.
“When at the park, they run into a bully and have to be creative to get rid of the bully, and make the park a safe and enjoyable place for children to play,” Ghram said.
“My son and the guys at Steamy Joe loved it.”
The book was written for children of grade school level to read, but she said the book should appeal to kids from 2 or 3 years old through fifth grade.
“When my 20-year-old daughter read it, she said, ‘You really need to publish this one,’” Ghram said.
“I have already written the follow-up story and will publish it, as well.”
Ghram self-published through Keefe Printing and also did sketches that were transformed by an artist into the illustrations in the book.
“I felt it was important to keep local business local,” she said.
A few months after writing the story, Ghram left Steamy Joe to finish her teaching degree.
“I enrolled full-time at (Wichita State University’) teacher apprentice program and started working at Ark City Middle School,” she said.
“I was just offered a new teaching contract by USD 470 and (am) looking forward to my first year as a teacher in Ark City, although I’m not sure which grade yet.”