Tamara Girardi, author of Lower Burrell, publishes her first children’s book, “Why, Dad?” Why?’

It was around the time Gabriella Girardi turned 4 that the questions started.

“Research shows that age 4 is the age at which we ask the most questions. No other age on the planet asks more questions than a 4-year-old,” said his mother, Tamara Girardi. from Lower Burrell.

But what made Gabriella’s questions different was the way she asked them – with a “Why?” at the beginning and a “Why?” at the end.

“It was kind of like a double whammy,” her mother said. “I loved this structure. We found it so fun and full of family humor that we decided to write a book.

Girardi celebrated the release of “Why, Daddy?” Why?” on Tuesday in Gabriella’s first grade class at Mary Queen of Apostles Catholic School in New Kensington. They read the book with Gabriella, now 7, asking the questions and her mother answering.

While the children’s board book reflects the questions Gabriella asked her mother and father, Domenick, Girardi said she wanted it to be a “dad’s book.” And in the book, father and daughter are pictured as bears.

“We took those questions and turned them into answers that demonstrate that everything parents do is for their children,” Girardi said. “Dad is so big he can help his little one fly in the sky. He wears a watch so he knows when it’s time to give him a bubble bath. It all comes down to the baby bear in the story.

“Why, dad? Why? is Girardi’s second book and her first children’s book, published by Familius. Her first, a young adult novel titled “Gridiron Girl,” was released in March.

“Gridiron Girl” is the first book of a six-book deal Girardi has with publisher Wise Wolf Books.

The first four are sportsbooks – ‘Disorder on the Court’ is due out May 31, followed by ‘Ultimate Takedown’ in August and finally ‘Shot Through the Heart’ in November.

The last two books will be part of a different series and are in development.

Girardi, 40, grew up Tamara Simpson in New Kensington and graduated from Valley High School in 2000. She received a bachelor’s degree in English and humanities from the University of Jacksonville in Florida in 2004, a master’s degree in creative writing in fiction from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland in 2005 and a doctorate in English from Indiana University in Pennsylvania in 2014. Between graduate studies, she wrote for the Valley News Dispatch.

She is an associate professor of English at Harrisburg Area Community College and teaches remotely.

“Why, dad? Why?” is the first hardback book Girardi has ever submitted. It is suitable for children from birth to 4 years old.

“For it to be picked up by a publisher, that was really exciting,” she said.

It happened in August 2019. The fact that it came out just now was not a pandemic delay.

“It takes so long to develop the illustrations for picture books and hardbacks that the production time is usually very long,” she said.

The book will be available at online retailers and at Mystery Lovers Bookshop in Oakmont. It’s on sale on Amazon for $8.99, where it’s marked as an Editor’s Choice for Best Books for Kids up to 2 years old.

Courtesy of Familius

The cover of Tamara Girardi’s new children’s book, Why, Daddy? Why?” The hardback, published by Familius, is illustrated by Nichola Cowdery.

But kindergarten students at Mary Queen of Apostles and Martin Elementary School in New Kensington-Arnold won’t need to pick up. Girardi raised $2,000 in donations from local businesses to buy them copies at a reduced rate from Mystery Lovers.

Mary Queen of Apostles students received their books on Tuesday; those at Martin Elementary are due May 24.

“We are grateful to him, of course. Children love books, especially when they are younger,” said Cathy Collett, director of Mary Queen of Apostles. “They like to have their own copies and take them home. It was special.

As she got older, Gabriella stopped asking so many questions. But his younger brother, Domenick, Girardi’s fourth child, is 3 years old and just getting started.

“It’s fun to somehow poke fun at that aspect of the perpetual questions,” Girardi said. “For parents, we are incredibly busy and have so many demands on our time.

“In the story, the daddy bear is so patient with the cub and all the questions. The answers to the questions are always centered around love, family and time.

“History reminds us that it’s okay to slow down and enjoy family time a little more. These phases do not last. They all pass.

Brian C. Rittmeyer is a staff writer for Tribune-Review. You can contact Brian at 724-226-4701, [email protected] or via Twitter .