PRINCETON — Princeton native Kate Morrow has written a children’s book about the heroic efforts of our area’s prominent abolitionist — Owen Lovejoy.
Morrow was at Princeton Public Library on Thursday evening to share her book “Living with Lovejoy” and telling about how the opportunity to write the story fell into lap.
The journey began last summer while she was giving tours at the Owen Lovejoy Homestead, Morrow happened to give a tour to Deb Bowen, who is the creator of the children’s book series, “A Book by Me.”
The series includes more than 80 books written by children for children, which tell stories about all sorts of social justice issues.
After seeing the Lovejoy home and hearing about Owen’s important role as a “conductor” on the underground railroad, Bowen convinced Morrow to write the story.
“Living with Lovejoy” is now in the proof copy stages and is working toward becoming officially published. The book was illustrated by Rashida Juma, who came to the United States from Kenya last year as an exchange student.
Morrow admits she never had plans to write a children’s book but was thrilled to do so when the opportunity was presented.
“I just had to take the tour I had been giving people all summer and put my story on paper in chronological order,” Morrow explained. “My co-workers at the Lovejoy home were also a great source in checking facts and adding anecdotes to the story.”
After this experience, Morrow said she doesn’t foresee children’s book writing as a new career path but is open to the idea and happy to do what she can to encourage children’s literacy and exposure to the important stories in American history.
All authors from the “A Book by Me” series are for ages 18 and younger and are from all over world.
Young authors interview their subjects and research, write, edit and illustrate, before a team of teachers give a final proof of the story.
Today, around 100 copies of books from the series have been distributed in schools within the Quad Cities.
It is now Bowen’s goal to find more sponsors willing to donate funds to have additional copies of the books printed and distributed. Her plan is to distribute 1,000 copies of six books, including “Living with Lovejoy” throughout Illinois. Copies will be distributed to public libraries and schools all around the state.
Morrow believes “Living with Lovejoy” is a great way for students to become aware of Lovejoy and his story.
“I believe with the state-wide distribution that ‘A BOOK by ME’ has planned will expose thousands of children to this story, Princeton and the rich history we have within our own state and community,” she said.
The unit price for each book is $8, which includes publishing costs, printing, shipping, insurance and distribution. The cost to print 1,000 copies of the six books is $48,000.
To help support the printing of “Living with Lovejoy,” donations can be sent to Living with Lovejoy, c/o Stephanie VanOrdstrand, 1214 S. Main St., Princeton, IL 61356. Checks are made payable to: The Jewish Federation of the QC.
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