Local Children’s Book Author: Maria Whitson

Maria Whitson. Submitted photo.

Maria Whitson, rural Garland, is the mother of five children and married to Clayton.

She is also a children’s book author.

The Process

Her journey as an author began with a college assignment to write and illustrate a children’s book.

“That is when the whole series of books called ‘Lessons for the Least’ was birthed,” she said. “But it was a couple years before I wrote down all the ideas for the series.”

She wrote the main content for all the stories while single, assisted by family in refining and editing her writings.

When she started looking for someone to illustrate her books, she looked to family.  She worked on one book and sent another to her Aunt Judy Walters to illustrate. Then a second cousin, Zoe Acuna, got involved in the illustrations.

Every time Acuna sent her preview illustrations, “I was so thrilled with her style and ideas,” Whitson said. “We made a small tweaks and then they sat for a while as life got busy.”

About the same time she and her husband were working on a manual for disaster preparedness, for a class on the subject.

They edited that book, then published it, on their own. This began a business called Swift Word Publishing.

“He loves helping others take their written work and getting it into a tangible product,” she said.

With her husbands help, she published her first book Reuben the Rooster in 2020. It is available on Amazon.com and also can be purchased at the Shead Farm Festival, rural Garland, on May 20.

About the Books

The first book, Reuben the Rooster, tells of a courageous rooster who learns the value of standing up for his friends. Children will learn  how courage and empathy can help overcome adversity,  Maria said.

Currently they have three books in the Lessons from the Least series, with another being published this week.
Each book in this series has a double story, according to Maria.  Each young animal’s adventures are encountered with relatable-to-children life lessons. There is also a secondary story unfolding in the illustrations, with directions at the end of each book on how one can uncover the mystery story. The hidden story is there to be discovered as the child is ready. The rhythmic verses, make them an enjoyable read-aloud experience for parents and children.
The age range for her books is 3-8 years old. Submitted pages.
Maria Whitson’s first book, Reuben the Rooster. Submitted pages.
A book in the series that Maria Whitson has authored. Submitted pages.
A sample page. Submitted.
A book in a series, by Maria Whitson. Submitted pages.
A sample page. Submitted.

About The Author

“My husband, kids and I love being in God’s creation,” she said. “We have a passion for growing in our knowledge of the Kingdom of God and how it operates here on earth.”

“Most of my writings are birthed from that passion and I have so many more books in me, waiting on timing,” Whitson said. “There has been many times that the Holy Spirit will give me an idea that takes a while to figure out how to go about writing it and publishing it.”

Her family lives on a small farm close to her parents Larry and Vickie Shead’s farm,  where  she grew up. They home school their children.

The Whitson family. Submitted photo.

They launched a family business called The Journey Home that is an umbrella for their whole family’s creations, including two of their  children

Book publishing, art, jewelry, cast iron accessories, homeschooling, foraging, homesteading, disaster prep, herbal remedies, are some of the interests of the family business.

“The Journey Home name meaning captures our heart,” she said. “Our company is about everything that is centered on the home life and family, but going even deeper it centers on our eternal home (the kingdom of God) and living life in a way that lives that life out now.”

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