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Ashley Elementary Students Visit with Two of their Favorite Authors (March, 2006)

Bill WallanceThe students at Ashley Elementary met two of their favorite authors this week when Bill and Carol Wallace, authors of That Furball Puppy and Me and other animal-inspired stories visited this Frisco Independent School District campus.

Bill Wallace is a former principal and fourth grade teacher who became inspired to write children’s books when his class became bored with the books he selected to read to them after lunch recess. He began telling them stories of his childhood growing up in Chickasha, Oklahoma and attending West Elementary School (the same school where he eventually spent several years as a teacher and principal).

“My first story was about two boys and a Mountain Lion,” Wallace told the Ashley students, explaining that he brought it to school to read to his class. He knew it was good when it kept their attention. “I could see eyeballs,” he said.

Wallace is well-known for books about his boyhood such as A Dog Called Kitty and for his stories with unusual titles such as Snot Stew and Ferrets in the Bedroom, Lizards in the Fridge.

Carol WallaceWallace’s wife Carol was his high school sweetheart and she taught 2nd grade for 26 years. When she retired, she was trying to find something to do when Bill recommended she write a book that involved their favorite cat, Gray. She did and she joined Bill in the writing world. She addressed the younger students in the Ashley library and brought slides of the family pets that have inspired her writing.

Bill and Carol Wallace also brought manuscripts of their books and discussed how publishing a book works and how a manuscript becomes “a real book.” They both used their experience as writers to explain that even adults have to correct their writing assignments.

“We read this 20 times before we sent it off,” she told the Ashley students. “But it came back and the publisher wanted some parts longer, some parts taken out and he found some mistakes,” she said. She also explained how she and Bill work with the illustrator. “If Bill and I drew the pictures, probably no one would want to read the book,” she said.