(WTNH) — An Ellington author’s first children’s book was recently featured on the Washington Post’s summer reading recommendations. As Jeanne Zulick Ferruolo looks at every page spread out on a table, she reflects on the long journey to publication. Conferences, contests, and hard work resulted in ‘Ruby in the Sky’ – a book for middle schoolers.
“The story is about 12-year-old Ruby Moon Hayes who is ultimately faced with this choice whether to remain silent and invisible or speak up to help the people she loves,” Jeanne explains.
The Ellington mom of two drew on personal experience for nuances. Her dog makes an appearance, along with a childhood memory of her dad hand feeding chickadees.
There’s also a character based on a Syrian refugee she recently met.
“He just so inspired me with his optimism just his exuberance for life so he found his way into the story.”
The novel is ultimately about finding your voice, which Zulick Ferruolo learned to do during her job in the public defenders office and also during a stint on Capitol Hill working for former U.S. Representative Sam Gejdensen.
“Watching Sam on the house floor fight for things that were not always popular but the right thing to do was always such an inspiration to me.”
Two battles with cancer changed her career path, steering her in the direction of writing.
“You can make a decision whether you’re going to take the bad luck and be defeated by it or stand up and do your best to overcome it.”
Zulick Ferruolo finds inspiration in a gift from her sister- an “Author” necklace.
“It just helped me believe that I could do it.”
And now, she’s putting her personal message out there to inspire others to find persistence, confidence and courage.
“It’s sometimes not until we face great challenges in our life that we realize how truly strong and brave we are.”
Zulick Ferruolo has another book on the way- “A Galaxy of Sea Stars” that will hit store shelves in February.
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