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Dover author tells an entertaining children’s story with a message

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DOVER — James Malloy could always tell a good story, whether at family gatherings or holiday get-togethers with friends.

That translates well now that he’s an author, too.

After taking writing classes at Delaware Technical Community College in 2013, the 48-year-old realized he could share stories on paper, as well as verbally.

Eventually, he self-published the two-part “Harlem’s Love” adult story and has followed up with “The Happy Woods Good Grades,” stressing the importance of schoolwork to kids.

Next up, the Dover resident said, is a title that promotes an all-important anti-bullying message to children of any background.

Mr. Malloy said he drew inspiration to create “The Happy Woods Good Grades” from the young people in his life — his kids, nephews and nieces — when seeking to provide positive guidance.

“Ultimately, the goal I have is to write books to bring kids together,” he said. “I want to let them know that everyone is entitled to certain things, and you have to strive hard to be successful. And I wrote this book to let kids know that everyone should be treated equal.

“That’s why I did the book the way I did. I had to let them know that I’m not going to just make something for a certain ethnic group of kids. I’m gonna make it for all of them, to bring them together.”

Indeed. The 30-page “Happy Woods” is illustrated differently in its two versions — the main character in one is African American, and she’s Caucasian in the other.

But the story is the same in both, telling of 5-year-old Nicole, who leaves home in a huff after not being allowed to watch cartoons due to poor grades.

She enters the woods, where “Mr. Tree” and other forest inhabitants strike up a conversation with her.

The Happy Woods song follows:

“Going to school and getting grades can make you happy in many ways.

“Think about all the things you could be, if only you work hard and study.

“Being a doctor, lawyer, or teacher, to name a few, are just some of the great jobs you could look forward to.

“Don’t be mad at your parents for the rules you must do.

“If they care about your grades, they care about you.”

The girl heads back home, seemingly more content after the advice.

“I must thank you, Mr. Tree, the lilies, leaves, and birds,” she says. “For you have all helped me learn the true power of words.”

Mr. Malloy, a Woodside native and 1990 Caesar Rodney High graduate, would love to see school districts utilize the book for student reading. He also envisions opening a library/recreation center that would involve both literary and other activities to bring children and parents together.

The books are available on Amazon, by calling him at 302-538-4462 or emailing authorjmalloy@gmail.com.

“The Happy Woods Good Grades” paperback version costs $20, and the hardcover is $24.99. Part one of “Harlem’s Love” goes for $15, and part two sells for $20.

Mr. Malloy said he’s sold roughly 300 copies of “Happy Woods” since it was published in early 2021, as well as 400 or so of the two sections of “Harlem’s Love,” released in 2016 and 2021.

The author also works as a recycling technician for the Delaware Solid Waste Authority.

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