Children's book deals with local Indian historyILWACO, Wash. - Local authors Christine Carpenter and Kay Aya met in 1988 when they worked as the Talented and Gifted (TAG) program coordinators for the Astoria and Seaside school districts. Upon retirement, they decided to write a book for children. It would be for emerging readers, ages 7 to 10, dealing with local history.
What started as a lunch-hour project evolved into a full-time career for the two women, culminating in the publication of "Blue Beads." The writing took two years to ensure accuracy and authenticity and was aided by Dick Basch of the Clatsop Indian Tribe and Jan Mitchell, coordinator of the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial events.
Carpenter and Aya worked on every aspect of the book's publication, from writing and editing the story to finding and hiring a book designer, illustrator and a printer. Originally, the story was 3,600 words long and described several events. After testing the story on selected children, the story was shortened to just one adventure.
The authors created a fictional Clatsop Indian girl, Klale (niece of Chief Coboway), who meets and interacts with Sacagawea and the Corps of Discovery during their winter at Fort Clatsop. On a visit to the beach, Klale rescues Pomp, son of Sacagawea, from a bear attack but loses her prized possession, a necklace of blue beads that had belonged to her mother. In a gesture of friendship, Sacagawea shares her own blue beads with Klale.
Carpenter and Aya plan to write a series of books featuring Klale in further adventures.
Carpenter will be signing copies of "Blue Beads" from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday at Time Enough Books, at the Port of Ilwaco. For information, call (360) 642-7667.