Children’s book writer and illustrator Teresa Ferracci from Saratoga has created an intrepid, 11-year-old heroine named Jackie Truman to carry pre-teens away on fantastical adventures, adventures that change Jackie’s life–and maybe the lives of her young readers, too.
In “Jackie Truman and the Zenoussians’ Warning,” readers are immediately hooked by the prologue, which introduces a grotesque, three-headed, slimy toad the size of a basketball. The toad is a messenger for hooded priests chanting by the light of a single candle around a stone altar.
As the fantasy unfolds, Jackie awakens in bed from a nightmare to begin a perilous adventure that transports her and five new friends from their hometown to the alien world of Zenoussia. In Zenoussia, Jackie discovers that the fate of everyone she loves, indeed of the entire earth, hangs on her actions. Will the reluctant heroine be brave enough to prevent disaster and save the world?
Ferracci, who writes under the pen name T.D. Reid, introduced Jackie Truman to Santa Clara at the Senior Center Holiday Craft Show in November. She is eager for pre-teens to get to know her heroine, whose adventures are available as modestly-priced eBooks and paperbacks at www.jackietruman.com and on Amazon.
“I’ve always loved fantasy and fairy tales. I was an avid reader of all the other-worldly stories that I could get my hands on. They were much more exciting than real life,” said Ferracci in an interview.
“The book is a little scary, informative and empowering–I want it to empower kids. I hope to show children that everyone has a talent. Everyone is valuable. In the book, magical necklaces magnify their talents, which makes it more fun.”
“There are a lot of things I wanted to say to kids, to instill values in them without making it didactic,” she continued. “I’m a tree hugger and want to preserve open spaces and make others feel the same.”
The book has other elements of the author’s life. “I was chubby, an artist, and I moved around growing up,” said Ferracci, who happily attended sixth grade at Curtis Elementary School, Santa Clara, where renown author Amy Tan was one of her friends.
Things changed when Ferracci moved, and kids taunted her because of her looks. “Other girls were more sophisticated. I wore saddle oxfords and no makeup,” she said. “I was bullied, and in Book One, I make reference to occasions of bullying.”
Book One touches on other issues as well.
“A lot of kids don’t know what’s going on when their parents do weird things–even become violent,” said Ferracci, who wrote about how pollution causes Jackie’s parents to change.
Ferracci was an artist and children’s book illustrator before she became a writer. A trip to Europe with her parents when she was 11 included a trip to London’s National Gallery.
“I decided then and there that I wanted to be an artist when I grew up,” she said. Then in the eighth grade, she wrote and illustrated a children’s book, planting a seed that would come to fruition in “Jackie Truman and the Zenoussians’ Warning.”
Ferracci’s true life adventures took her to San Jose State University, where she earned a B.S. Degree in Business Marketing, and to London for ten years. There, just before returning to Saratoga to look after her mother, she began writing “Jackie Truman and the Zenoussians’ Warning.”
Back home in the U.S., she had an emergency medical experience and said that “it made my writing more urgent; a near-death experience has a way of focusing you.”
“While I was recovering, I thought about my life and what I want to accomplish with the rest of my years. Finishing the Jackie Truman series, and, hopefully, leaving some positive impression on young people’s minds, was high on my list,” said Ferracci.
“Jackie Truman and the Zenoussians’ Warning” is Book One of a series of fantasy adventure stories for children ten and older. Book II, “Jackie Truman and the Search for the Phaedril,” is now available as well.