Longtime Mississippi educator writes children’s book series

Published 5:51 am Saturday, April 9, 2022

The first book in a four-part series written by a lifelong educator has been published.

“Pearlie … I Dream: Peace in the Home” is the first in a nonfiction series written by Starkville native Yvonne Bardwell Cox, current member of the Columbus Municipal School District Board of Trustees.

The book’s main character, Pearlie, is named after Cox’s grandmother, Pearl, but the character’s personality and experiences are based on Cox’s life. The author said the books are meant to be creative teaching and learning tools demonstrating family values and love.

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“My books are written for children ages 3 and up, children with disabilities, at-risk children, parents, teachers, childcare professionals, etc. to recognize teachable moments and enhance hands-on reading experiences,” Cox said. “Each book in the series will share the thoughts that have stayed with me, and the many childhood memories embedded deep in my heart and mind.”

Cox said she always wanted to write a children’s book, but didn’t find the time until 2020, when the pandemic started.

“It was a time for me to do some spiritual and physical healing. So, I wrote all the thoughts I had about the book,” she said.

“‘Pearlie … I Dream’ content is what the Lord has given me. As I was writing, I could really just see what I was writing.

“Once I started putting it together, it became a book about a special love and support given to me at a very young age.”

During Cox’s childhood, she lived with her grandmother, mom, aunt, her three brothers and two cousins.

“We thought we had everything we needed,” she said. “(Our upbringing) taught us to believe in ourselves and who we wanted to be in life.”

The other books in the series have been written, Cox said, but are in various stages of the publication process.

Cox said she hopes to get her books into every public library in the Golden Triangle and hopefully into schools.

The book is currently available through Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other online bookstores. It includes illustrations for children to help them study facial expressions and learn about the story through the art. There also worksheets that feature activities related to the book. The book also contains a few pages of comprehensive questions for children to answer.

“When I wrote the book, I thought about how children learn to read. Some kids need to be read to, some need adults to read with them, and others can read independently,” she said. “After they read, we ask them to apply what they read. ‘How do you feel?’

‘How do you think Pearlie feels?’

“We look at keywords. We’ll bring up the word ‘love’ and look at what it actually means,” she continued. “How you teach children from the beginning will determine how they develop a lifetime love of learning.”

The book series is a family affair. Cox’s daughter-in-law, Stacie Johnson, is the illustrator, while her son, Michael Johnson, is the business manager. They put together the website and help Cox with other aspects of the book’s publication.

“She drew the pictures according to what I was saying,” Cox said of Stacie Johnson. “I told her what was going on and she drew it. (Children) will be able to look at the illustrations and listen to what’s being read to them and know what’s happening in the book.”

Cox is currently doing book-signings and other activities to promote her book. Delta Sigma Theta Sorority will host an online literary cafe April 23 in which Cox will discuss her book. Details can be found on the “Pearlie … I Dream” website, pearlieidream.com .