It’s me, Zulah Talmadge, editor of the Shady Pines Gazette newspaper here with some big news. Our very own local author is Re-releasing her Children’s Book in Time for Mid-term Elections. The publication is part of our Shady Pines Story Town website focused on restoring civility.

Mary Jane McKittrick, creator of Shady Pines Story Town, and our website promoting “Civility for Children” with online stories and off-line activities, and author of the nationally recognized book series, Boomer and Halley, re-releases “Boomer and Halley Election Day – A Town Votes for Civic Responsibility” in time for the 2018 midterm election cycle.

First published in 2008 during the Clinton-Obama election, the book, a Mom’s Choice Gold Award Winner for readers ages 4-8, chronicles the events of a local mayoral election in the small Southern town of Shady Pines and features Boomerang, an Australian Shepherd dog, and Halley’s Comet, a silver streak of a cat, who elect to get involved. Themes of honesty, forgiveness, responsibility and proper pet care weave throughout the story line where honesty and responsibility are up for debate, and civility is the big winner.

“The book is less about politics as it is a call to get involved, be informed and be of service to your community,” says McKittrick, who is concerned about the rancor and lack of decorum and polite debate in today’s elections.“How can we ask younger voters to support our representative-driven republic if all they observe are civil servants being anything but civil? Why should the next generation want to get involved and participate in public life if all we show them is that if they do, they will be ripped apart, attacked and destroyed?

“Research shows that voting is habit forming. Starting early makes it more likely that an individual will continue to vote throughout their life time and are more likely to get involved with other forms of civic engagement, such as participation in community groups and advocacy organizations.”

McKittrick says that’s what the Boomer and Halley Election Day book seeks to achieve.

“We use our small town of Shady Pines to showcase a mayoral election. Neighbors, old and young, human and animal, get involved. It’s a fun way to show children that it’s important as citizens that we make out voices heard if we want to affect positive change. Our power in the voting booth is the single most significant individual power we wield as citizens, and it’s a right that many around the world don’t possess. We should teach our kids to value it and to use it wisely.”

For more information about Shady Pines Story Town, the Boomer and Halley book series or to purchase a copy of the book, visit

Mary Jane McKittrick is the Chief Creative Officer of Shady Pines Story Town and the author of the national award-winning book series, Boomer and Halley, for ages 4-8. The books feature Boomerang, an Australian Shepherd dog, and Halley’s Comet, a silver streak of a cat, both adopted by Harold and Edna Sanders who learn to parent their four legged “kids” in the small Southern town of Shady Pines. The stories introduce core values in a fun-filled way. McKittrick is a former communications consultant and broadcast journalist who holds a dual bachelor’s degree in Theatre Arts and Speech Communication.

For more ideas on how to use the four life lessons embedded in Boomer and Halley Election Day, A Town Votes for Civic Responsibility GO HERE