Local author’s ‘Stacy and Tracy’ are taking children on adventures in virtue

Georgette Ghantous Williams of St. Philomena Parish in Peoria is author of the new children's book "The Adventures of Stacy and Tracy: How to Turn Gossip into Kindness."

 

Stacy and Tracy are fictional young sisters who are taking children and adults alike on adventures in virtue.

For decades found only in the imagination of Georgette Ghantous Williams — as well as her seven children and 19 grandchildren who delight in her lesson-teaching storytelling — Stacy and Tracy are fast making friends around the country. The pair come to life in Williams’ new children’s book: “The Adventures of Stacy and Tracy: How to Turn Gossip into Kindness.”

“Originally, I wrote this book for my grandchildren because they kept asking me, ‘Tell us another story,’” said Williams, a member of St. Philomena Parish in Peoria and wedding coordinator for the four churches comprising the Heart of Peoria Catholic Community. They know she has plenty in her memory. Williams has come up with hundreds of Stacy and Tracy adventures since about 1990 to get points across to young minds on topics such as the need to share, avoid bad influences, not bully others, etc.

“The Adventures of Stacy and Tracy” is available through Amazon and is also at Lagron-Miller in Peoria, which will host an author’s book signing from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. this Saturday, June 8.

“One day last year I pulled out my computer and I told my grandchildren, ‘No, I’m not going to tell you another one. We’re going to type the one I just told you and you can read it any time.’” The story they typed eventually became a 39-page, colorfully illustrated hardcover book — the first in a planned series of seven Stacy and Tracy adventures based on what Williams considers “critical virtues” to guide children into becoming mature, responsible adults.

BOOK SIGNING JUNE 8

The book publishing adventure began after Georgette’s  husband, Harry, read that printed story on the topic of gossip and told her: “You have to share this, it’s really good.”

An illustrator was found, the Williamses created a company called “Adventures in Virtue” to market the book, and since Easter Georgette and Harry — who serves as the business manager — have been on the promotional interview circuit.

“The Adventures of Stacy and Tracy” is available through Amazon and is also at Lagron-Miller in Peoria, which will host an author’s book signing from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. this Saturday, June 8.

It’s important to start training children in virtues and morality early, Georgette told The Catholic Post. “It doesn’t start when they’re 17 or 18,” she said, adding that reading with young children provides an ideal, interactive setting.

She said the Stacy and Tracy series — the next book is already written on the topic of turning laziness into hard work — is designed so children can question their parents on the topics, opening up conversations.

“Most of the comments I’m getting is that these are things adults need to learn, too,” said Georgette.

TOPIC OF GOSSIP IS PERSONAL

The first book’s topic of gossip — a subject often raised by Pope Francis — is a personal one for Georgette, who says she was bullied in school as the child of recent immigrants. She remembers how “the kids treated me very differently.”

“My parents always said if people are gossiping about you, they don’t know better and that if they got to know you better, they would like you,” said Georgette. “I took that with me.”  In fact, that theme is echoed in her first book as Stacy and Tracy learn that a person they were told was a “mean old lady” and even her supposedly vicious dog could be transformed by kindness.

“I feel like if this can help just one child who is a little bit different and is being gossiped about or talked about, then I’ve done my job,” said Georgette.

Georgette homeschooled their seven children and thought someday she’d write down her Stacy and Tracy stories. Now seemed liked a good time to “preserve these for my family. I don’t mind sharing them with the world, but they were made for my children and my grandchildren.”

“I feel like God is recycling me,” continued Georgette, who with Harry helped begin perpetual adoration of the Blessed Sacrament at St. Philomena Parish 28 years ago that “is still going strong.”

“I don’t know what God wants from me,” she said, “but I’m going with the flow and enjoying the adventure.”

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