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Local author releases Christmas picture book

Russellville author Dianne Wages Pace has written and illustrated a new picture book titled “Too Many Santas,” through which she invites readers to find out why there are so many Santas “here, there and everywhere” at Christmastime.

Not wanting to risk giving away too much of the story, Pace said the book is about “all the Santas everywhere,” noting “some are fat, others thin, some tall and others short.” Quoting from the description on the back of the book, she said it’s a story about “Santas here and Santas there, bunches of Santas everywhere!”

Pace recalled yearly childhood visits with her mother to Loveman’s Department store in downtown Birmingham to see Santa Claus. “Every Christmas there was magical because they had all the windows decorated with animated things and snow scenes, and it was absolutely beautiful,” said Pace. “You had to wait in a long line to see Santa, and he was the best Santa Claus ever. My mother always told me he was the real Santa Claus, and that’s what I always believed.”

She explained that, having noticed many other Santas and observing they didn’t look like the one at Loveman’s, Pace asked her mother about them. Her mother’s explanation led to Pace wanting to write and illustrate a book to share that with others.

Written in rhyme, “Too Many Santas,” is Pace’s third book but the first one she has illustrated herself.

While Pace said it didn’t take all that long for her to write “Too Many Santas,” she had obstacles to overcome to get it ready for publication.

“I’ve had the manuscript for a few years, and I have tweaked it along the way,” she said, “but it took me a while to get everything finished because I decided to illustrate it myself, and I had to figure out how I wanted to do my illustrations.”

With the aid of “a book full of sketches” she made, it all started coming together after creating the book’s cover image.

“Once the cover came together, everything flowed from there, and I was able to accomplish the rest of it much easier.”

Pace said she feels “really pleased” to have completed the book. “I hope children enjoy it. That’s my main goal – for children to find pleasure in reading the story and seeing the illustrations and to be able to relate to it.”

As a retired elementary, music and child development teacher, Pace uses her background to help her make her books especially interesting for children. “I think children will be able to relate to the story very easily,” said Pace. “Children have questions about why there are so many Santas, why they look different and which one could be the real Santa.”

Pace said the book being in rhyme is helpful both for emergent readers as well as children who are already reading on their own. “The story being in rhyme helps children anticipate the storyline through the rhyme. There’s a verse that repeats throughout, and this makes it easier for children to participate in the reading of the book,” she explained. “Writing the rhyming story was the most fun part of creating this book.”

When copies of Pace’s new book came in, she read it aloud to her second-grade grandson, as well as the rest of her grandchildren – “even the 18-year-old.”

Pace held book signings Nov. 19 at Maggie J’s in Russellville from 9:30 a.m. to noon and 2-5:30 p.m. The book is also available on Amazon.com.

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