A former Reeds Spring educator has written a children’s book about Missouri, which will also help a local charity.
KL Hale, a Stone County resident, wrote a non-fictional children’s book about Missouri and part of its history, facts, and hidden gems titled “Faith and Finley Tour Missouri”.
According to the Hale Flannel with Faith website, the book is aimed at children ages 6 to 11 and uses simple poetry to share events, places, and people. the trip.
A portion of the proceeds from the book will be donated to Chances of Stone County, a non-profit organization that provides services to Stone County residents with developmental disabilities to improve their quality of life, according to the website.
Hale, who now resides in Stone County in a tiny house, said she started writing on her website after reassessing her life and downsizing a few years ago. She wrote about her trip as she and her rescue dog lived in her campervan and roamed the state.
“I started blogging on my website after I finished my studies. It was a healing journey for me due to some health issues, ”Hale told Branson Tri-Lakes News. “My little three-legged rescue dog, Finley and I live in our motorhome. Finley and I are the main characters in the book.
Hale said that after writing for the website for a while and traveling, the idea for a children’s book came to him. The book joins Faith and her trusted travel companion Finley as they visit Missouri.
“After living in our RV and just simplifying life, I thought this would just be a fun way to show kids a different way of life from traveling,” Hale said. “It’s a way to showcase local things in the region. “
Hale, who was born and raised in Clever, said she wanted to share her love of nature, history and her homeland with the children.
“I was born and raised in Clever, so I’m a girl from a small town,” Hale said. “I have a story here with my family.”
According to the website, Hale attended the same school for 13 years. As a child, she dreamed of being a mother, teacher, veterinarian, missionary, zoologist, singer and writer.
Hale said that she had many influences in her life that helped her develop her own sense of self.
“I was inspired by Jesus, Jane Goodall, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Amelia Earhart and Eleanor Roosevelt, to name a few,” Hale said. “I’m an eclectic mix of weird, nerdy, and headstrong.”
On her website, Hale describes herself as a mom, grandmother, dog lover, nature nerd, and former flannel-wearing educator, follows Christ. She said that history and the great outdoors stimulate her curiosity. As a big fan of “Little House on the Prairie” and western movies, Hale said she dreams of traveling in a wagon west to virgin land.
Hale’s education in education was another reason she decided to write a children’s book.
“It was really important for me to bring history back to the classrooms,” Hale said. “I wanted to be a version of Miss Frizzle, from The Magic School Bus, but in an RV. Instead of Liz the lizard, I have Finley. So wherever I go, and whatever Faith and Finley’s adventures are, we’ll have friends. So we’re going to meet a friend and we’re going to teach history like Miss Frizzle taught science, in a fun way.
After Hale finished the book, she needed an illustrator to add the finishing touches and color to her words.
“A friend of mine told me about an illustrator in the area who works in the visual arts department in Silver Dollar City,” Hale said. “So I called him and I went to his website and said, ‘Oh, yeah, let’s meet.’ This is how I found Gage Becker.
Hale explained that by meeting Becker, the two had known each other for years already.
“We met and he told me I was principal when I was at Reeds Spring School District,” Hale said. “We teamed up in February. His illustrations are incredible.
Hale said the goal of Faith and Finley Tour Missouri is to teach kids about Missouri in a fun and colorful way.
“I just felt like we were stepping away a bit from the history that is here, local, and the things people really should know about our wonderful state,” Hale said. “I just wanted to highlight some of our local parks and a little bit about Missouri and its history. I want to show them history like Lewis and Clark and The Pony Express. Some kids have never even heard of the Pony Express. I gave them Pony Express stickers during my book signings. Our region is very cool, and I hope my book encourages kids of all ages to research some of our local history and find out what great things make our state so great.
Hale described the journey of writing the book as long but rewarding.
“It has been a journey for me to learn to let go. This book helped me find myself. I suffered a head trauma which caused me to leave my teaching job prematurely. Special Ed was my experience before being a principal, ”Hale said. “I’m an outdoorsy girl. I’m a history buff, an art lover, and just living in my motorhome and writing helped put things in perspective.
Hale said she believes everyone has a story in themselves.
“We all have a story. No matter what anyone thinks or says about you, dear friend, know this: you have been chosen and you are loved, ”Hale said on her website. “And you have a story to tell. Through my own stories and by connecting with others, I discover my most authentic self. I hope you find my site an encouragement. We are on this trip together.
Hale is currently available for book signings in the area.
“Faith and Finley Tour Missouri” is sold online at Blurb, Barnes and Noble, Amazon, or on Hale’s Book Stop on the SCBWI Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators page.
For more information on illustrator Gage Becker, visit www.beckerillustration.com.