West Milford resident Carol Johansson, 80, recently published her first children’s book, though she had the idea and started writing it many years ago.
“The Old Beacon Pumpkin” is about a group of children playing together in fields on Halloween night. Suddenly, the Old Beacon Pumpkin starts to glow, lighting the fields.
This frightens the children, and the pumpkin has to convince them that he is a friend and there to protect them.
The moral of the story is that someone you’re afraid of could turn out to be your best friend, Johansson said.
She had the idea for the book when her son’s teacher wanted him to bring a Halloween story to class many years ago.
She took him to the library to pick out a book. While looking at some of the stories and seeing how simple they were, with only a few words, she thought that she could write one.
She started to write the book years ago, then stopped writing for a while. When her husband, Hal, died a few years ago, she began writing again.
A friend illustrated the book.
Johansson, who was married for 38 years, said many people pushed her to have the book published. After a neighbor researched publishing companies, they found Page Publishing.
The manuscript was typed on a typewriter and included the illustrations and a cover page. Johansson sent it to Page Publishing on a Tuesday, and by Friday, she was notified that they wanted to publish it.
“The Old Beacon Pumpkin” was released in July and may be purchased at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Apple Books and other bookstores.
Nightly bedtime story
Johansson was born in Jersey City on Oct. 27, 1942. She was the youngest child of Margaret and Elmer Sanborn and was raised in a Christian home with five brothers and one sister.
Her father would read her a bedtime story every night when she was a child. “The Wreck of the Hesperus” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was her favorite.
As she got older, she started to write her own stories.
“I have been writing on and off since high school and I love poetry,” she said.
She hopes readers love reading her children’s book as much as she enjoyed writing it.
Johansson has written another children’s book titled “The Frog and the Lily Pad,” which is about a frog talking to the lily pad.
She needs to have the book illustrated and hopes to have it published in about a year.