It was a dream come true for Kealy Connor Lonning when she held her published book, "Our Wonderful You," in her hands. Kealy has written throughout the years, but her dream of publishing a book was put on hold as she raised her family and was an elementary school teacher for 32 years. The Lonning family moved from Decorah to Maplewood, New Jersey, in August of 2015 with their twins Gable and Gara, and daughters Summer and Shanae. Their daughter Moran was attending Luther College, playing basketball, when they moved out of state.
"Our Wonderful You" is a children's book about her firstborn son Connor. It's a heartfelt story about him growing up and following his dreams. Kealy kept the book a secret that only her husband Greg knew about as she was writing it.
"Since I'm retired from teaching now, with only two kids at home, I found the time and the guts to pursue this again," said Kealy. She joined a Facebook page for children's book authors and illustrators. The group suggested the online site "Upwork" for an illustrator for her book. Kealy chose her illustrator from the illustrators that answered her bid.
Kealy shared with decorahnews.com about reading the book for the first time to her son. "Connor lives in Belize, and the WiFi wasn't good to FaceTime that day. So, I emailed him the book and he downloaded it. He could at least see the pages as I read it. Connor cried hard, when he realized it was about him. Greg videotaped it. All three of us were bawling. Connor recognized the illustrations, drawn from photos of him. He kept thanking me, after I read it, said he was in shock, and he was an emotional mess. It was like he just relived his whole childhood!"
"Our Wonderful You" is available on Amazon in paperback or Kindle version: