When Winchester resident Betty Pace wrote her first children’s book in 1989, she was simply trying to fill a need.
Both her sons, Donald and Chris, had received ear tubes, and Pace wanted to find a children’s book about the subject.
When her search came up empty, Pace decided to write one of her own.
The result was “Chris Gets Ear Tubes,” published in 1990 by Gallaudet University, a private university for education of the deaf and hearing impaired.
“That one has really gone international and sold more than 300,000 copies,” Pace said. “I’ve never had another one that sold that well, but you always hope. That was a bestseller because, at that time, there were no books on ear tubes in a child’s language that they can understand.”
Since the publication of “Chris Gets Ear Tubes,” Pace, a Leslie County native who has called Winchester home for nearly 50 years, has written a dozen other children’s books on subjects like learning to make friends and how to handle bullying.
As a retired teacher, Pace said she wants her books to convey a lesson in a way that will be interesting to children.
“I always read to kids at school, and we always had story time, and we did a lot of writing stories in my classes. I do try to write a story that has a message,” Pace said.
Her most recent book is “My Dog Isaac,” inspired by a Pace family pet. The fictional Isaac helps his owner, a little boy, befriend an elderly neighbor.
“Of course, the lady makes friends in the end with the dog, and she feeds the dog, and helps take care of the dog,” Pace said. “This is really a charming little book, and it keeps children entertained.”
Inspiration for stories often comes from her own family, Pace said, especially her seven grandchildren.
“You get a lot of stories, a lot of ideas, from kids. Right now, my grandkids will say something and it will ring a bell to me, and I’ll write it down,” Pace said.
Another recent book, “My Bossy Cat,” features her granddaughter, Ella, as the cover illustration.
“My Bossy Cat” also was inspired by a real animal, thanks to stories Pace heard from a friend at aerobics class.
“In my aerobics class, people are always telling stories, and this lady was talking about this cat that was a bossy cat, and I thought that was a good title for a story. I started listening to her telling about this cat bossing around all the other cats, and I made up a story,” Pace said.
Writing has always been a passion for Pace, who began creating stories and poems for friends in college. When she began her teaching career in Leslie County, Pace said she continued writing in her free time.
Since retiring from teaching, Pace said she has enjoyed having time to focus on her writing and has no plans to stop. Eventually, she also would like to begin illustrating her own books. For a complete list of Pace’s books, visit www.bettypace.com.
Books can be purchased at the Winchester Art Guild, located at 18 W. Lexington Ave., Amazon and all major book retailers. §