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Altrusa distributes books, hears from children’s book author

Cove Leader-Press 

The service year for Altrusa International of Copperas Cove is almost over, and last Tuesday they made their final distribution of books for the school year to elementary school students.
Along with them came a special guest, award-winning children’s book author Joanne Wagner. 
Wagner is the author of the Sir Pigglesworth Adventure series, which chronicle the travels and escapades of a pig named Sir Pigglesworth. The Sir Pigglesworth Adventure series was named the first place winner of the children’s chapter book category in the 2017 Royal Dragonfly Book Awards.
The character of Sir Pigglesworth came to life during the summer of 2014, Wagner said, when her church’s pastor gave out a tiny toy pig to members of the congregation and he encouraged them to take the pig with them everywhere that summer and post photos on Facebook, so other members could see where they’ve been.  
During her first trip, Wagner said, she left the pig at home and went to San Antonio without him. 
“My pastor said, ‘You look like you’re having fun, but where’s the pig?’ So, he started traveling everywhere I went,” Wagner said. But instead of taking photos of herself with the pig like others, she instead started asking everyone she met if she could take their picture with the pig and post it on Facebook.  
Then one night, while sitting at a jazz concert, Wagener said it suddenly came into her head to name him Sir Pigglesworth. She began posting photos of him and commenting on what he was doing.
“It just caught everyone’s attention and really engaged them,” she added.
“He just started taking on a life of his own. He’s only five years old, and we all know, five-year-olds don’t really follow the rules. So he gets into mischief, but he is a good-hearted pig,” said Wagner. “He learns lessons from everything that he does. Every action that he does has a consequence.”
Among the places Sir Pigglesworth – and Wagner – has traveled are London, Cozumel, Puerto Rico, Vancouver, New York City, and Bermuda, with the books also serving as mini geography lessons, and children can learn about the history and culture of the country where the pig visits. Wagner said she gets to travel everywhere Sir Pigglesworth does.
Wagner and Sir Pigglesworth have a following online, and she said she encourages people on Facebook to give her ideas of where they think the pig should travel next. 
Wagner’s husband learned the ins and outs of publishing the books, and Wagner said she hires an illustrator to bring Sir Pigglesworth to life on the page in pictures and hires editors to help her as she crafts the stories.
Husband is her publisher an taught himself all about the publishing process. We made a lot of mistakes at first, but he learned from them. Wagner said marketing is a big part of getting the word out about her books, and she visits schools, libraries, and churches. 
Wagner, who worked in the medical field for 30 years, said she never thought in her wildest imagination that she could be an author. She called herself a voracious reader, but never thought she could write a book. Seven books later, she is now releasing book number eight this summer. 
“I never imagined this is what my retirement would be. I’m having the time of my life,” Wagner said. “I started at 63 years old and I tell everybody, it’s never too late to follow your dream and just chase it down.” 
Cindy Hutcherson, president of Altrusa, said the kids at Taylor Creek were thrilled to get their books signed by Wagner.  
“Most of them don’t have a book signed by an author,” Hutcherson said. 
This was the club’s first time distributing books at Taylor Creek Elementary School, part of the Lampasas Independent School District but inside the city limits of Copperas Cove.
Each year, Hutcherson said the club distributes 2,000 books each school year at elementary schools in Copperas Cove. The club raises funds via its annual golf tournament and also had a quilt raffle this year. 
“I did give (the students) homework. They had to read the book, and they had to share it with someone. Because, every time you share a book it becomes more precious. I told them to read it to someone, mother, father, sister or even the dog,” Hutcherson said. 

Copperas Cove Leader Press

2210 U.S. 190
Copperas Cove, TX 76522
Phone:(254) 547-4207