June Phyllis Baker always has loved books.
“I love the written word,” she gushed.
The lifelong Hasbrouck Heights resident entered her first story contest at the age of 12. She didn’t win, but it spurred her love of writing. In high school, at the urging of her teacher, Miss Walters, she wrote an article for “The Pilot’s Log,” the school newspaper, which continues to be published today, called ‘The Boy in the First Row.’
Her first novel, “No Regrets,” a romance set in the South, was published in 2008. Now, after numerous articles, poetry and short stories, she has penned her first children’s book, “See-more’s Big Adventure.” Baker will celebrate the publication with a book signing at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Heights Eye Center.
The picture book tells the story of a young squirrel having difficulties in school and at play because he cannot see clearly. When he learns he must wear glasses, See-more is afraid of being laughed at and losing friends. After a visit to the kind eye doctor, Dr. Aversa, See-more learns glasses can be hip and cool.
Baker relates See-more’s fears to issues facing today’s children.
“Kids are bullied left and right today,” the 72-year old author said. “See-more didn’t want to wear glasses because he was afraid that people would laugh at him.”
The birth of See-more came from a little gray squirrel that would come to Baker’s back deck, peer into her house and eat raisins.
“’How funny would it be if this squirrel wore glasses?’” she asked herself. “Then I decided to put clothes on him!”
The book is dedicated to Baker’s two great-nieces and three great-nephews. The acknowledgement thanks Dr. James Aversa – yes, he’s real – Baker’s eye doctor.
In addition to the book signing, Baker has two book readings -- at the Victorian Tea House and Hasbrouck Heights Library -- pending in December. She already is planning several more children’s books, including about two children being bullied, a brown duck and a missing rose bush.
“God didn’t give me children, but I can reach them through books.”
Does she have any advice for aspiring writers?
“Just start writing, and never ever give up,” she urged. “Find people who will support you.”
“This is a dream come true,” she continued. “I don’t want to be sitting in a rocking chair, saying, ‘I should have…’ ”