By Stan Henderson
PORTLAOISE children’s author Donna Mills recently launched her award-winning book at the local library. Donna’s rhyming book What Can I Do? received a prestigious Golden Wizard Award in recognition of her magical work.
Around 25 people showed up for the event, including 15 children, who listened attentively and interacted while the author read her story.
The book focuses on Elephant and his journey. Poor Elephant feels that he can’t do anything right, but while wandering around one day, he stumbles upon a bright circus and decides to go inside.
He meets characters such as Monkey, Snake, Lion, Kangaroo and Crocodile, whose roles he tries to fill, but soon concedes to himself that they are all better than him.
The rhyming story is told in a wonderful way, which focuses on children being their own individuals, each with their own unique talents.
After Donna brought smiles to all present, she asked the children if they wanted to make their own Elephant to bring home. They all cheered and Donna led them to the table, where she had laid out art and craft materials for the kids to get creative. Party blowers were used as Elephant’s trunk, along with elephant-shaped cut-outs and lots of colourful decorations.
Every child took part in making their very own Elephant, while the adults helped out and many bought the book, which the author was happy to sign.
Donna said: “I’m so grateful to everyone who showed up, wished me well, bought a book and supported me on social media. I couldn’t have written the book without the support of all those people.
“The kids were fantastic today and it was lovely to see them all smiling and enjoying the story and the craft. Seeing each of them smiling and engaging with the story makes it all worthwhile.
“It was beautiful to see kids of all ages enjoying the book. I’m looking forward to many more story times in Portlaoise Library and I’m grateful that they gave me the opportunity to have my book launch there.
“Keep an eye out for me at the schools, as I’ll be visiting schools around Laois and Offaly to tell Elephant’s story. Now … to continue working on the next book.” she said.
Cathaoirleach of Laois County Council Thomasina Connell, who gave birth to baby Thomas before Christmas, was happy to take a little time to attend the launch when invited along by the author.
Cllr Connell said: “I’m delighted to be in Portlaoise Library this morning to attend the launch of Donna’s wonderful children’s book What Can I Do?.
“It is a beautiful book with beautiful illustrations and it is all about embracing a child’s own talent and asking themselves what they can do. Even when others might score more goals or do better in a test, each child will always think about what it is that they are the best at.
“I think that this is really something we should be striving towards and I commend Donna on writing her book and presenting it here at Portlaoise Library today.”
What Can I Do? (€8.99) is available in Portlaoise at The Bookmark, Laois Shopping Centre; All Books, Lyster Square; Paddy’s Newsagent, Mountmellick Road; Martley’s Newsagents, Borris Road; and Cleland’s, Kilminchy.
It is also available on Amazon and can be ordered directly from the author via her Facebook and Instagram pages by searching Donna Mills, children’s author.
See more photos from the launch in this week’s edition of the Laois Nationalist, in shops and online on Tuesday 7 February