DOVER — It’s back-to-school time, and little Joey is ready.
The problem is he’s too young — but that doesn’t stop the determined young man.
Little Joey is so eager that, one morning, he packs some of his breakfast into a Hot Wheels case and sneaks out the backdoor to join the parade of kids on their way to school.
Many decades after the real Joey arrived a year early for school, he has become the subject of a children’s book. “Joey’s Big Day,” by Joseph Lee of Dover, was written for children ages 4-9.
The author hopes parents will read it to their kids and that it will be an inspiration to youngsters, as well as to adults.
Parts of the book are autobiographical. “I really did sneak out and go to the school,” Mr. Lee admits, adding, “They sent me right back home.”
He was 5, growing up in Norfolk, Virginia, before the time when children were required to attend kindergarten.
Other parts of his writing reflect the life Mr. Lee and his wife, Cynthia, gave their son, Joseph Jr., and daughter, Nicole, who are now in their 30s.
“My wife was the backbone of our family, activity planning and raising our kids,” Mr. Lee said. “She made sure our two kids had an adventurous life,” including lots of family outings and trips to museums and parks.
The author said he thinks good parenting is the greatest need these days.
“Kids need to know the difference between right and wrong. It’s the key to turn around what’s going on in the world today,” he said. “I provided the spiritual foundation and was the disciplinarian. I believed and still believe God and church is the cornerstone of the family. We raised our kids to be honest, courteous and respectful to everyone.”
He also incorporated these quality values into the book, available on Amazon in Kindle and hardcover formats, as well as at Barnes & Noble and booksamillion.com.
And as a retired Air Force senior master sergeant, quality has been synonymous with Mr. Lee’s work for more than 30 years. He has become well-known in the community for his woodworking and specifically for creating military and law enforcement shadow boxes.
However, after some of his finely crafted shadow boxes were damaged in transit, Mr. Lee is discouraged by disappointing standards of shipping companies and will be putting down his tools by the end of the year. “It’s just time,” he said.
He enjoys cooking, too, making meals for family and social gatherings, but really wants to devote more time to writing. At least two more inspirational books are on the horizon.
In fact, he’s already written “Joey and the Majestic Snow Globe,” in which God speaks to Joey as a light in a snow globe, answering his questions about life.
Just like little Joey, grown-up Mr. Lee has determination. He is determined that it’s never too early to impact children’s lives through his stories, and he is determined to inspire hope in a new generation before it’s too late.
Dee Emeigh is a freelance writer living in Milford.