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East Ridge Grandmothers Share Wisdom Through Books

Feb 16, 2018 | News

“Books are gates to lands of pleasure. Books are paths that upward lead. Books are friends. Come, let us read.” – Emilie Poulsson

Children’s authors and illustrators week (the first week in February) recognizes literacy and the contributions authors and illustrators make in influencing young readers. Two talented authors who contribute to young readers live at the life plan community of East Ridge of Cutler Bay.

Bonnie Massey

Bonnie Massey

Bonnie Massey and Rita Steingold have made a mark in this special genre that influences children.

Both are grandmothers. While one is a great-grandmother with 10 great-grandchildren and 94 years young, the other is 84 years young and currently adding a fantasy novel to her list of published children books.

Bonnie Massey decided she wanted to write a children’s book. And write it she did. A copy proudly sits on her coffee table, “I’m a Little Like…” by author Great Grandmother Bonnie Massie.

Her granddaughter, Laura Jensen, is a school teacher and mother of two children, and assisted Bonnie with the technicalities using an internet publishing company.

Bonnie’s inspirational message drew on simple teachings she imparted to her children as the basis of the book’s story. The book’s last page summarizes its message, “We may look different, but in many ways are alike.”

Coincidently, when she visited her family in Atlanta to escape Hurricane Irma, she had the opportunity to read to two classes. She arrived on Thursday and on Friday, with scarcely time to recuperate from traveling, she went to her granddaughter’s school where she was given a name tag reading “Mystery Reader”. She read to two different classes including the class that three of her great-grandchildren were attending.

Rita Steingold

Rita Steingold

Rita Steingold is a former school teacher who taught blind and visually impaired children for 25 years. She authored children books for many years. Her book, “Taking Visual Impairment to School” was published in 2004. It tells the story of Lisa, who is visually impaired, and explains how she finds her way around school, knows where her clothes are in her closet and even plays baseball.

A Manhattan resident when the tragedy of Sept. 11, 2001 occurred, it inspired her to write a book about the tragedy. She wrote about the adventures of a boy living in California and his quest to go to Ground Zero.

“Finding legitimate publishers is the biggest hurdle,” she said.

Her 9/11 book has not been published. This has not deterred her. She recently finished a fantasy novel geared to middle schoolers and is targeting the educational book market.

“Schools and teachers need books to supplement textbooks and hopefully this will be something they want,” she added.

She finds inspiration from being a member of the South Florida Writers Association (SFWA) and attends their monthly meetings where they talk about the craft of writing. Her advice to aspiring writers of children’s books:

  1. Read books in the genre you want to write about.
  2. Attend writers’ workshops and conferences.
  3. Above all . . . Don’t give up your day job!

The maintenance-free lifestyle of East Ridge and living in a life plan community affords residents like Bonnie and Rita the time to pursue their varied interests.

To learn more about East Ridge, please call 305-256-3564 to arrange a tour of the community.