Up Front Fridays, hosted by Horizon Books of Traverse City, features Peggy Creten's first book, "Peggy Perch." Watch the interview here.

“You need to tell someone if it bothers you. Even if you can’t change the outcome, just saying ‘I don’t think this is right’ still feels better, even for adults.”

 

BY STEPHANIE BRZEZINSKI

 

sbrzezinski@record-eagle.com

 

TRAVERSE CITY — Peggy Creten, a part-time Glen Lake resident, is turning the stories she heard as an elementary school counselor into a new children’s book series she titled “Peggy Perch.”

 

“Betsy Bobcat Chooses Kindness,” her first book, was published by Mission Point Press in August. Creten said the book combines several issues into one story.

 

“I had these stories that students have told me,” she said. “There have been similar issues over the years.”

 

The first-time author uses northern Michigan animals — especially those found in the Glen Lake area— to illustrate topics like bullying, name calling, decision making and peer pressure. Peggy Perch, the teacher, narrates each tale.

 

It is based on a real girl’s experiences with her classmates calling her “goody-goody.”

 

Creten said Betsy Bobcat has to decide whether to follow her classmates’ prank on a substitute teacher or be herself.

 

“It seems small, but in her world, it isn’t,” she said. “You need to tell someone if it bothers you. Even if you can’t change the outcome, just saying ‘I don’t think this is right’ still feels better, even for adults.”

 

The author said her goal is for the books to spark discussion between parents and kids, and kids and teachers.

 

“We all know there’s something significant about teaching values — kindness is one of those,” Creten said. “I believe that talking about how you feel and communicating does so much good, rather than keeping it all inside.”

 

Doug Weaver, of Mission Point Press, said Creten approached him in the spring after seeing the publishing company’s book “Storm Struck.” Weaver said he mainly assisted with production, as Creten had already connected with illustrator Melanie Regier, of Kansas.

 

“Looking at the illustrator, we knew Peggy was in good hands,” Weaversaid. “In a children’s book, the design is as important as the words.”

 

Additionally, Weaver said he thinks the book will capture attention because it has a greater message — it is both educational and entertaining.

 

He said he hopes to work with the author for the other books in the “Peggy Perch” series.

 

“I’m excited about it and to see how it does,” he said. “She’s an enthusiastic author.”

 

Creten has written three stories so far, all geared toward second through fourth graders. Her second book, “Rosie Raccoon Finds Courage,” is about bullying on the bus. The author said she has not set a publication date yet.

 

“I want to take this one step at a time and enjoy it,” she said.

 

“Betsy Bobcat Chooses Kindness” is available in hardcover at Horizon Books and Leelanau Books and in paperback at Amazon.com. Visit peggyperch. com for more information.

 

Creten’s first children’s book, “Betsy Bobcat Chooses Kindness,” is available for purchase at Horizon Books in Traverse City, Leelanau Books in Leland and Amazon.com.