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Small-town charm recognized in print

Local teacher and author releases childrens book about Forest Grove


by: NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: STEPHANIE HAUGEN - Living in a Small Town Can Be a Wonderful Thing was sold at the Harvey Clarke Elementary School Book Fair and featured at the Forest Grove First Wednesday Market at the Public Arts Commission booth.Neighbors sharing cups of sugar, grocers telling shoppers not to worry if they’re a dime short, postmen finding the right home for mismarked mail — living in a small town can be a wonderful thing.

That’s why it’s also the name of Ruth Anne McCullough’s new children’s book about a boy growing up in Forest Grove: “Living in a Small Town can be a Wonderful Thing.”

The bilingual work, translated by Ivonne Pierano and illustrated by Sheila Sadowski, shares anecdotes from the author’s time in Forest Grove.

McCullough has lived in Portland and Los Angeles, but “fell in love with this place” when she moved to the Grove with her husband and son so they could raise children in a safe, friendly place away from all the hustle and bustle, she said.

“I just kept running into situations when I thought, ‘Wow, this would never happen in the city,’” McCullough recalled.

McCullough said the whole book came to her early one morning. “Everything just fell out at 2 a.m.” by: COURTESY PHOTO - The books illustrations feature local Forest Grove scenes and characters.

She uses her son, Alec McCullough, as the narrator, who observes the characters in town, exemplifying a small community’s charm with snippets about welcome baskets for new neighbors, church potlucks, the annual corn roast celebration and cozy local businesses.

McCullough will retire this month after years of teaching second grade at Forest Grove’s Harvey Clarke Elementary School, and plans to write her second book about a boy following his dream. Not only is the local community ideal for her family, she said, but it has also inspired her writing.

Co-hosting a writers’ conference in 2005 “inspired me to believe in myself and write,” McCullough said. “To be around people doing it as a way of living is encouraging and inspiring.”

by: COURTESY PHOTO - The books illustrations feature local events like the annual corn roast.Locals are sure to recognize storefronts and neighborhoods in her book — and a recipe from a friendly featured neighbor completes the tale.

McCullough met Portland illustrator Sadowski through her sister, and translator Pierano taught at Fern Hill Elementary School.

For a copy call her at 503-709-7116.



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  • 19 Sep 2014

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