Q and A with
Mary Crowley

What circumstances led you to write I Love to Visit My Grammy?

During an illustration class I took at Castleton State College, we had an assignment to create a children's book. I was able to complete only a portion of the book before the class ended, but I received so much encouragement from my family and friends that I decided to finish it. Both the story and the illustrations have come through me because of the life I have lived, the people I have known, and the things that I value. I believe strongly in the importance of nurturing relationships, seeking peace, simplicity of living, being creative, and taking time for fun.

How does the book convey the message of peace and simplicity?

I tried to create simple, peaceful illustrations. Visiting the pond, sharing tea and cookies, watching the sunset, and tuck-in time all represent peaceful activities that are often overlooked in today's busy society. I feel that the absence of phones, television, computers, and other high-tech devices helps to create an atmosphere free of the distractions of modern life.

Is your message more for children or for adults?

The message is for both, but I hope that the book will encourage grandparents or other adults to invite one child at a time to visit in order to foster a one-on-one relationship. In addition, any adult can share his/her time and energy by mentoring after school or sponsoring a child in a foreign country. I want people to see that helping one child is a worthy and attainable goal.

Do you have any specific goals for your book?

I think it is important to introduce children to the concept of peace at a young age. I hope that this book will get across the message that one need not have expensive toys or gadgets and that there is much satisfaction to be derived from having a personal relationship with an elder. I want children to know that there is more to life than video games and more to grandmas than money in a birthday card.

Is the plot based on experience?

Yes, but not in the way you might think. My granddaughter Paige lives in Nevada and so far is too young and too far away to visit by herself. A lot of the book is based on my own childhood spending time with my Great Aunt Kate at her home in Haddonfield, New Jersey. With no children or grandchildren of her own, Aunt Kate would often invite me to stay over- night, and I have many fond memories of spending time with a loving relative. When I visited, we did simple things, such as looking at the goldfish in the pond out back or sharing breakfast on the sun porch. Having a grown-up treat me as if I were important made a difference in my life. Aunt Kate made me feel special, and I shall always be grateful to her.