(ROCKWALL, TX — March 23, 2018) Students of Lynda Lyon Elementary School recently welcomed a lesson in storytelling from a very special guest: the daughter of legendary Dallas Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach and renowned children’s author, Michelle Staubach Grimes.
Grimes presented her newly released second children’s book titled “Pidge Takes the Stage,” the sequel to her highly successful first book “Where is Pidge?” which debuted in March 2015.
“I love visiting schools and reading the stories that I wrote, and sharing them with kids,” Grimes said. “I’ll read it to them and they always have so many questions, and it’s just very inspiring and one of my favorite things to do.”
The story follows young Pidge Hoobler, the middle child of seven siblings, who decides to audition for the school musical along with her canine pal Maverick. Through their theatrical escapades, Pidge discovers that singing requires hard work, and that Maverick might not be ready for his stage debut after all. By story’s end, Pidge learns that being a star is all a matter of perspective and unconditional love matters more than fame.
Like many picture books, which Grimes said seem simple but have a lot of depth to them, “Pidge Takes the Stage” teaches several important life lessons such as always taking care of your friends, accepting people for who they are, and challenging yourself to try new things. Grimes said it’s biggest message was something she learned from her father: “Unspectacular preparation makes for spectacular results.”
“I took that quote from my dad when I asked him about what it was like to train as an athlete,” Grimes said. “You don’t just go out on the field and all of a sudden become a star. You have to practice and work hard to get that ultimate result. That’s what unspectacular preparation means.”
Just like Pidge with learning how to sing, it took a lot of practice and hard work for Grimes to write her first children’s book.
“The best thing I find to do when writing a story is to just write down everything you can think up, and then continually narrow down the word count through editing to make it more precise,” Grimes said. “There’s a lot that goes into writing a children’s book, but it’s fun and I really enjoy it.”
After graduating from Ursuline Academy High School in 1986, Grimes moved to Washington D.C. and received her B.A. in History (1990) and J.D. (1994). She returned to Dallas in 1994, where she practiced law for a couple of years and worked a year in sports marketing.
Grimes married her husband, John Grimes, in 1997 and became a stay-at-home mom after the birth of her first child, Jefferey. Two more children followed, daughters Gracie and Emma. She began journaling years ago and followed her writing passion by enrolling in the rigorous SMU Creative Writing Continuing Ed Program in 2012. Grimes drafted a women’s fiction novel through her study of “story” in the creative writing program, but found her true calling in her side project, “Where is Pidge?”.
In the book, Pidge is angry with her family after being left behind at a restaurant. She decides to run away to prove to her family that they won’t miss her. To escape from her house unnoticed, Pidge slides down the laundry chute with a plan to sneak out the backdoor. Her plan is foiled when she gets stuck in the laundry chute on her brother’s football pads.
As she spends hours in the laundry chute, various items owned by her siblings come down the laundry chute. Pidge finds candy in a pair of pants and enjoys being in the chute for some time as “no one can tell her what to do” and she gets to eat lots of candy. However, as the day continues, she becomes cold, develops a stomachache and begins to miss her family. Eventually she is found by the family dog, Maverick, much to the relief of her parents and siblings. Pidge learns how much she is loved and needed, and that being the middle child is a good thing because she is loved on all sides.
Grimes said the story’s young protagonist was named after her mother, whose nickname was Pidge and maiden name was Hoobler before she married Roger Staubach. Grimes also considers herself the middle child in her family, just like Pidge.
Grimes said becoming a writer can be as simple as keeping a piece of paper or notebook next to your bed and just start writing; It doesn’t matter what you write, just write.
“Write things that come to your mind – write stories. We all have stories to tell,” Grimes said.
Story and photos by Austin Wells, Blue Ribbon News.
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