Award-winning journalist Jennifer Antonik has published “The Music Man: Our Rootin’, Tootin’ Hero,” her first children’s book about a hometown hero’s path to a new passion.
Over the years, Antonik has written all kinds of stories for Delaware and her hometown community. She currently works as the public relations coordinator for the Delaware Farm Bureau, helping tell the stories of farmers and ranchers in the First State. Branching out into the realm of children’s books has been a dream she is proud to have begun realizing.
“Reading is so important. And I love telling stories. Writing children’s books has combined the two nicely for me,” she said. “There’s something special about watching a child’s eyes light up when you lead them on a new adventure or tell them something they didn’t know.”
Antonik said the joy of life and the passing of her grandfather earlier this year inspired her to take the plunge and start her first children’s book with the help of her sister, English language arts teacher Jessica Rash, who edited the book.
The juvenile nonfiction biography offers an inspirational glimpse into the life of their grandfather, Norman Joseph "Joe" Lear Sr., and how he founded a community band 30 years ago. Having offered a musical home to hundreds of musicians over the years, the Milford Community Band and its offshoot ensembles continue to play their favorite tunes to this day.
This book allows youth to encounter a few instruments through words and pictures in a way that they may not otherwise experience until they are older. Young readers will learn about community and take a visual tour of the tuba, trombone and guitar. They will also learn about the banjo, harmonica, trumpet and bells.
Rash said, “This book is a tribute to my grandfather, Joe Lear. His life choices impacted so many people in our community and beyond. We want his legacy to live on through a few of his life joys: music and reading.”
A portion of the book sale proceeds through January 2021 will be donated to the Milford Community Band to help offset its donation losses caused by the pandemic.
“I think it is most rewarding to know that I can spread Granddad's love of music and make him proud by becoming the author he always knew I could become,” Antonik said. “Truth be told, writing ’The Music Man: Our Rootin’, Tootin’ Hero’ was gut-wrenching, but also comforting to know that we can tell his story in a way that will inspire children all over.”
Antonik also released ”Boops and Goobs Find a Home,” a hilarious tale of two lovable orange tabby cats who find a forever home together.
For more information, go to jenniferantonik.com or look on Facebook or Instagram for @StoriesByJenniferAntonik. The books can be purchased through Amazon.