“This (book) is something I’ve always wanted to do,” said Byrd, a retired principal of Addison Elementary in east Cobb. “It continually was expanding mentally with me. When I began to write, I already knew the book and what I wanted to say. Though it wasn’t on paper until recently, I knew the gist of what I wanted to say.”
Byrd drew on her experiences as a teacher of 34 years, school counselor and school principal to write this book that is illustrated by Margaret Caudle, also a retired teacher from Addison Elementary. Caudle lives in Canton.
When Rudolph and Santa’s other reindeer fall sick with reindeer flu, Santa calls a 911 meeting.
“Santa believes in the decision-making of the citizens of Toyland. He believes in the Toyland citizens and empowers them by bringing them together,” said Byrd, who lived in Marietta from 1990 to 2012. She moved to Evans to help her youngest daughter, a doctor, care for her four children. She also cares for her elderly mother.
Santa is in need of a team to replace Rudolph and the others in case they can’t fly this year.
“Santa allows citizens to nominate a substitute team. They must be able to give an example of their character,” Byrd said.
“The children who are reading the book understand what I mean by good work ethic, trust, character and leadership skills. They are able to connect what it means,” said Byrd, the daughter of foreign missionaries. She and her husband, James, have three grown children and 11 grandchildren.
Through the book, children learn life lessons such as leadership, respect and character development.
“Children can identify with someone feeling hurt and want to help them. They can understand what it means to step up to the plate and work hard and be a team player. If they can understand that each person has their own gifts and talents to bring to the team, then each person reading that book can be a leader. Each person can add something to life that is going to be valuable and they can say, ‘I can do that,’” she said.
“It’s not only to touch the emotions but to touch the drive, the will, the want to be more than what we are — to really be dependable, to be truthful, to be honest, to have a strong work ethic, to have respect,” Byrd said.
“Santa’s 911 Meeting” can be purchased at xulonpress.com or most book resources such as Amazon.com.