Renowned author visits Hepburn-Lycoming Primary School

Susan Wojciechowski, renowned children’s author, visited Hepburn-Lycoming Primary School on Dec. 6. She spoke to students in grades K-3, during two different assemblies, concerning the importance of reading and writing. She spoke to the students concerning her life as a writer, where her ideas for stories come from, the writing process and how a book progresses from the idea stage through the writing, illustrating and final publication.

Wojciechowski has written several children’s books over the past several years and is published with major publishers including Random House and Candlewick Press. Her books for children of all ages include “Promises to Keep,” “Beany and the Meany,” “Beany Not Beanhead,” “Beany and the Magic Crystal,” “A Fine St. Patrick’s Day” and “Best Halloween of All.”

Her most renown work, which has received several awards including the Parent’s Choice Award, Kate Greenaway Award, American Library Association Award, the Christopher Medal, Teacher’s Choice Award, Bookseller’s Choice Award and the Carolyn W. Field Medal from the Pennsylvania Library Association is “The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey.”

Having sold more than 1,000,000 copies to date has the honor of ranking No. 6 on the Publisher’s Weekly bestseller list and a New York Times Book Review editor’s choice. It was made into a major motion picture in 2008 with the starring role of Jonathan Toomey played by Tom Berenger.

It also has been recorded in electronic format by James Earl Jones for which he received a Grammy nomination. Accolades for this literary work include “The tale is unfolded with such mastery, humor, and emotional force that we are entirely within its power,” New York Times Book Review. “Holds readers spellbound with its emotional strength,” Publisher’s Weekly.

“The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey” is the story of a woodcarver Jonathan Toomey who was known as the best woodcarver in his village and surrounding area. People tried to get to know him, however he wanted nothing to do with them. He never smiled or laughed and complained often about things that most people enjoy. Jonathan wasn’t always this way.

His life was once filled with happiness and love. However, his wife and baby became very ill and without the advantage of modern medicine, both died within three days of each other. Once they were gone, Jonathan packed his belongings and “traveled until his tears stopped.” He settled in a small house on the edge of a village where no one knew him or his pain.

One day, a newcomer to the town knocked at Jonathan’s door. It was the widow McDowell and her son Thomas. The widow had lost a very precious set of Christmas figurines her grandfather had carved for her. She was hoping for a miracle and find them, however Jonathan stated “there are no such things as miracles.”

She asked Jonathan if he would accept the job to carve new figurines for her. He accepted the job and ended the conversation by stating to her that “Christmas is pish-posh.” The process of carving the figurines led Jonathan through a miraculous change … the healing of the human heart.

The illustrator, P.J. Lynch, has crafted such beautiful and warm illustrations that they become real as to reach off the page and grab the reader

Susan is a resident of New York. She is a former teacher stating she left teaching because she found “it was too hard a job. “I decided I would find an easier profession maybe air traffic controller” Wojciechowski said.

She found her craft and profession as an author of children’s books that also captivate adults.