by Marc Harshman
The Woods family lived on the top of a windswept mountain. Their farm was on old rocky soil, and they made their living the best they could. They raised knee-high corn, walnut-sized potatoes, but you'd hear no complaints from them. Their house was drafty, their animals skinny, their clothes patched. But one thing they had was pockets, and in their pockets they carried rocks. Yes, rocks. They were very important. They carried rocks to keep from being blown away; they played games with them; they'd worry them; and they wrapped them in heavy socks, after heating them by the fire, to keep warm at night.
But early one summer day, the rocks proved to be more important than all these things and changed life forever for the Woods family. An amusing tale of resourcefulness and honesty.
"A subtle but beguiling message about values, packaged in an offbeat, entertaining tale." - Kirkus Reviews
Interview with the author:
STATE AUTHOR'S FIRST BOOKS DOING WELL
Publication: CHARLESTON DAILY MAIL
Byline: JIM COCHRAN
MOUNDSVILLE - Moundsville author Marc Harshman's first book, "A Little Excitement,' has made for an exciting two years for the author-educator.
In fact, his third book, "Rocks in My Pocket,' is now in bookstores; he has already written two other children's books and is working on his sixth.
In addition, this summer he learned the MacMillan Co. is going to use "A Little Excitement' as part of its classroom reading series for third-graders beginning in the 1992-93 school year.
The publishing company asked Harshman this summer to write a supplement to the book to be used as part of the curriculum.
"This is quite an honor to have one of your books as part of a school curriculum,' Harshman said. "I knew when I had the book published that firms such as MacMillan use such material in the classroom, but I never thought it would happen with my first book.'
Harshman teaches sixth grade at Central School in Moundsville He is happy with the sales of "A Little Excitement.' About 10,000 copies have been sold.
Not only has the book been sold in the United States and Canada, but it has been published in Denmark and Sweden during the past few months.
He said sales of his second book, "Snow Country,' which was published last September, are doing well. Harshman has been a poetry writer for several years, in addition to being a storyteller, but decided in the mid-1980s to begin writing children's illustrated books. He does not regret his decision.
He attributes his success to many things, one being the publisher, Cobblehill, a division of Dutton Publishing Co., of New York.
Harshman said he enjoys writing children's books, and credits his wife, Cheryl, with helping him to be successful in this new career. "She is my best critic,' Harshman said. Mrs. Harshman is a librarian, with a specialization in children's books. Although she hasn't had any books published, she also wrote supplements for MacMillan Co. this summer.
About the author:
Marc Harshman is the poet laureate of West Virginia. His full-length collection, GREEN-SILVER AND SILENT, was published in 2012 by Bottom Dog Press. His fourth chapbook, ALL THAT FEEDS US: THE WEST VIRGINIA POEMS came out from Quarrier Press in 2013. Periodical publications include Shenandoah, The Georgia Review, The Progressive, Appalachian Heritage, and the Roanoke Review. Poems have been anthologized by Kent State University, the University of Iowa, University of Georgia, and the University of Arizona. His eleven childrenâ€™s books include THE STORM, a Smithsonian Notable Book. His children's titles have also been published in Spanish, Japanese, Korean, Danish, and Swedish. Marc has new childrenâ€™s books forthcoming from Roaring Brook/Macmillan and Eerdmans. He lives in Wheeling, West Virginia and holds degrees from Bethany College, Yale University Divinity School, and the University of Pittsburgh. He has also recently received an honorary doctorate from Bethany College in recognition of his lifeâ€™s work. In honor of West Virginiaâ€™s Sesquicentennial, Marc was commissioned by the Wheeling National Heritage Area to write a poem celebrating this event and so on June 20th his poem â€œA Song for West Virginiaâ€ was presented in both Charleston and Wheeling as a part of the day-long festivities held that day.