MANKATO, Minn. | Mary Ann Waldron, who used to teach second grade in Britt, is living her life-long dream of being an author.
Waldron, who is retired and now lives in Mankato, Minnesota, was written four children's books inspired by her love for animals and her teaching experiences.
Her first published book, which came out last year, is "Can Candy Save Christmas?" A second edition with revised illustrations was published this year.
Waldron's second book, which is Easter-themed, will be released this spring. She plans to have her other two books published later.
She said she always wanted to write, but once she started teaching, "I just didn't have time to do any of that."
The story of “Can Candy Save Christmas?” begins when Santa and his team encounter problems delivering presents one year.
The prospects for another Christmas are grim, but the remarkable talent of an unusual baby reindeer named Rosebud inspires Santa's wife Candy to devise a way to change how Santa delivers presents so they will never have trouble again.
Waldron's inspiration for the book came from a mother deer and her fawn who frequently visited her yard.
The mother would stand up on her hind legs to eat fresh green leaves from the trees. The baby deer tried to mimic its mother, fell over and "threw a tantrum," Waldron said.
The baby deer lowered its head, swung it back and forth, and kicked up its back legs as it ran across the lawn.
While watching the fawn, the character of Rosebud and the entire story for the book "just popped into my head," Waldron said.
Her upcoming book, “Can Any Bunny Be an Easter Bunny?” also was inspired by wild critters she observed.
Waldron said a visiting cousin called her attention to a robin and a rabbit hopping around in her yard, just a few feet apart.
The cousin told her, "I never saw anything like that before. It just doesn't happen. You need to write a story about it."
The next two books she plans to have published are drawn from her own life, including her teaching experiences.
One stresses the importance of good table manners and being kind rather than being a bully.
The other, titled "A Wee Bit of Irish Lace," is about a tradition passed down from a woman to her great-granddaughter.
Waldron spent the first three years of her teaching career in Britt in the 1970s.
"It's a nice little town," said Waldron, who grew up on a farm near Sherburn, Minn. "I like small-town living."
Waldron taught second grade at Estherville for the rest of her career before retiring and moving back to Minnesota.
Minnesota Heritage Publishing in Mankato is the publisher for Waldron's books.
All her books are chapter books for intermediate readers, with lots of illustrations.
Waldron loves the work illustrator Monica Zrust did for her books.
"It's very important to have good pictures," she said.
Copies of "Can Candy Save Christmas?" are available through Minnesota Heritage Publishing (mnheritage.com) or Amazon.