NEW ULM - A local grandmother-granddaughter writing team enchanted children Tuesday night at the New Ulm Public Library with a reading session of their self-published stories.
Judy Gag Sellner of New Ulm, and her eight-year-old granddaughter Evelyn Sellner of Lafayette, started writing books together two years ago during a long trip to visit a relative returning from military service. While the two had previously passed the time dreaming up colorful tales, they decided on that trip to take a serious approach and actually write down their stories. Evelyn was in first grade at the time.
The result was "The Dinosaur That Was Wrong," which focuses on a T-rex learning not to jump to conclusions. They self-published shortly thereafter under the unofficial business name of "Books by Grandma & Me."
Staff photo by Josh Moniz
Judy Gag Sellner of New Ulm, (left) and her eight-year-old granddaughter Evelyn Sellner of Lafayette, have collaborated in writing books for children. The books, which are self-published, are stories that two created while sharing tales from their imaginations and transferring those ideas to written text. In the photo, they are displaying a page that features a shark and a teddy bear in a book that encourages its readers to count the teeth in its illustrations.
This spring, they completed and self-published "Shimberly Tootle the Poodle," which deals with a super spy poodle who wears a poodle skirt.
Judy Sellner has also penned an independent children's book titled "Hark, the Harold Angel Sings," which focuses on an angel named Harold. The book is expected to be completed by mid October.
The duo have been touring the region, giving readings of their books and selling autographed copies.
The books are illustrated by Lana Beck of Le Sueur.
When asked about writing with such an age difference between them, Judy and Evelyn said it was easy because they already shared a close bond. Evelyn said her grandmother helps her make writing more concise. Judy said her granddaughter has been invaluable in coming up with wild ideas from her imagination and with helping her to get the exact speech and thought pattern of children.
The books intentionally add elements to the plots that challenge and stimulate the minds of the children who read or listen to them. In the T-rex book, there is a motif of tooth brushes, which listeners are encouraged to count.
Evelyn, who attends St. Anthony's Elementary in New Ulm, is very excited to an author. Her friends at school find it interesting that she has her own books.
"It's more fun writing with [my grandmother]. It's fun and I like to doing it more. It's more interesting with her," said Evelyn.
People interested in the books can contact Judy Sellner via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 507-354-6777.
(Josh Moniz can be e-mailed at email@example.com)