Howard is a kindergarten teacher at Sope Creek Elementary School, and Bunn is a fifth-grade teacher at Eastside Elementary School. They met when they were both teachers at Sope Creek.
“We’re excited to tell Dianne’s story,” Howard said. “We think it will be well received by a large audience even though it’s a simple picture book.”
Gurr grew up in Columbus where she and her family lived with her grandmother. “The Butter Bean Lady,” a black woman, came to the grandmother’s home each weekend to sell produce. The Butter Bean Lady’s granddaughter accompanied her and played with Gurr all day while she sold her fruits and vegetables.
“For (Gurr and the granddaughter) to play all day in the early 1950s was not a typical situation in Columbus at that time,” Howard said.
After selling her goods all day, the Butter Bean Lady would return to Gurr’s home where she and her granddaughter would eat dinner at the same table with Gurr’s family.
“It was very special to Dianne especially as she got older and realized what a wonderful gift it was that they had the opportunity to have this friendship,” Howard said.
Bunn said, “It was such a special time in (Gurr’s) life. That story has been one that Dianne has wanted to tell for years and years. The story is about acceptance and friendship.”
Howard said young children will enjoy the book because of the fun activities that Gurr and the granddaughter do throughout the day such as making mud pies, climbing trees, playing dress up, and making ice cream. Older children will understand the social implications and appreciate the acceptance and love and friendship in the story. Adults may be reminded of their own experiences through the story.
“For adults growing up in the ’50s and ’60s and having a sense of that time and era, the story is poignantly touching as well,” Howard said.
“The book is intended for children but has meaning for everyone,” Bunn said.
“The Butter Bean Lady” can be purchased at The School Box in east Cobb and Town Center, Uppity’s, C’est Moi, Bookmiser, Signatures, Kudzu Embroidery, Doodlebugz and The Magnolia Room. A book signing is Oct. 20 at Kudzu Embroidery, 1311 Johnson Ferry Road #204. For more information, search Ark Publishing, LLC on Facebook or call (770) 565-8500.