Author writes books for grandchildren
SUN PHOTO/LAURIE KROSNEY
Children’s author Kathleen Geist and her husband,
Mick, enjoy a cup of tea as they discuss her book,
“Grandma Coo Coo Nutts Goes to Boston.”
Kathleen Geist-Eskew is the KJ Wihelm who is writing the Grandma Coo Coo Nutts series.
“I have eight grandchildren, so I want to do a book for each child,” Kathleen said. “The first is dedicated to Max Geist, my oldest grandchild who’s now in college.
The stories began when Max was a little boy.
“I wanted to build a relationship with Max, but we lived so far apart, I was worried that we wouldn’t be close,” Geist-Eskew said.
Geist said she missed Max and each of her subsequent grandchildren so much that she began telling Max stories over the phone as a way to stay in touch.
As Max grew up, they each told a part of the story. From that beginning, the Grandma Coo Coo Nutts series was begun.
For Max, now away at college, the special stories he shared with his grandmother meant a lot.
“I’ve always loved how close I’ve been with my grandmother,” Max said in an e-mail. Growing up, a lot of my friend’s grandmothers had either passed away, or were just old and boring, and they didn’t always enjoy spending time with them.”
Max said he thinks it’s really cool having a story about his younger self.
“I laugh whenever I see a picture of me in the book,” he said. “It’s funny to me, because I remember my grandma used to make up these stories to me over the phone when I was about six. I never would’ve guessed that they would end up getting published.”
He said he also feels honored that his grandma chose to write a book that’s basically about him.
The story features a nutty grandmother with spiked hair who’s going on a visit to her see Max. The two discuss which of her many pets she should bring for the visit.
They finally settle on three – Harry, the hamster; Sissy, the baby snake and Pappy, the pot-bellied piglet.
Harry and Pappy have little spiked heads, and a wisp or two tops even Sissy’s head.
After some deliberation about the best means of travel, plane, train or automobile, Grandma Coo Coo Nutts chooses a choo choo.
All those long “o” sounds are just the sort of thing a child in the target audience of four to about nine or 10 would enjoy.
The journey itself is an adventure with Sissy going alliteratively missing somewhere on the train.
Fortunately, the drama in the journey ends well and Grandma Coo Coo Nutts and Max have a fine visit.
Geist-Eskew, an energetic, bubbly grandmother herself, comes alive as she discusses her book, the others to follow and her grandchildren for whom the stories are named.
Though for the author, each book is a love note to a specific grandchild, they are books that all children will enjoy.
“I want so much to teach children to tell their own story,” Geist-Eskew said. “Kids are very smart, very sharp today.”
Any kids that want to start to tell their stories can e-mail Geist-Eskew at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mick Geist points out that kids can log onto the Grandma Coo Coo Nutts Web site at www.grandmacoocoonutts.com and print out a little booklet to color and go with the story.
You can also order books from that Web site.
Geist-Eskew has the next two books ready to go to the printer, and she plans to keep on writing until she has a story for each of her eight grandchildren.
And now some great-grandchildren are arriving, so it looks like this wonderful new series of children’s books will be growing for a while.