Wanda Bulmer started writing stories with Christian themes for her three young grandchildren several years ago.
In recent months, she has found an even wider audience for her stories, which teach children to show love and kindness to others.
Bulmer, a retired teacher in the Topeka Public Schools, has self-published three children’s books containing her writings — including both stories and poetry — along with her artwork.
The first book is titled “There’s a Mouse in My Couch!,” which sells for $7.99. The second book is titled “There’s a Skunk Next Door,” which sells for $9.99. Her third book is titled “Leaping Frogs and Stinky Skunks: Poetry for Kids of All Ages,” which also sells for $9.99.
All three books, which are designed for children ages 4 to second grade, are available in hard copy or as Kindle ebooks and can be purchased at amazon.com and on Bulmer’s website, www.grandmaoz.com.
She said her writing projects came from her hobbies of poetry and painting.
“For years, even while I was teaching, I’d just write poetry,” Bulmer said earlier this week. “It was a lot of fun.
“My hobby was watercolor painting. I would paint an animal, then I’d write a poem to go with it.”
The process of writing children’s books took off in a big way about two years ago, Bulmer said.
“I started thinking, ‘Oh, it’d be fun to write something for my grandkids,’ so I sat down and wrote a story,” she said. “My daughter-in-law from Vegas came out and she enjoyed it.”
The proverbial light bulb went on, and Bulmer started the process of writing her first book, with a goal of getting it published.
“I visited with another author,” Bulmer said, “and she said the best way is to self-publish. That way, I could do my own illustrations.”
Bulmer said she is working on her fourth children’s book at this time, about a family of Westie dogs going on a trip to the United Kingdom to visit their cousins, who are missionaries in Wales.
Rather than simply telling stories, Bulmer said she hoped her books would help encourage children in their faith journey: “I think in this world, we need to put forth thoughts of kindness and tolerance and caring for others and loving thy neighbor.”
Bulmer has plans for more books. Her biggest challenge, she said, is marketing.
“That’s the part I don’t like,” she said. “I enjoy just creating, and it’s hard for me to do that with marketing.
“We’re working slowly. I’m an unknown author, so it’s difficult.”
She said her first three books have been published by CreateSpace, and so far, she has been pleased with that company’s work.
“It’s something we just kind of stumbled onto,” Bulmer said. “They’re very user-friendly.”
As for the titles of her books, they come from real-life experiences.
For starters, “There’s a Mouse in My Couch!” came from something she had experienced.
“We did have a mouse in our couch, so that kind of spurred me on,” Bulmer said. “It was down in the basement.”
The inspiration for “There’s a Skunk Next Door” came from her observance of a family of skunks walking between two houses down the street.
Bulmer is a longtime member of East Side Baptist Church, 4425 S.E. 29th, where she has taught Sunday school and in the Awana program for many years.
The church has copies of Bulmer’s books available for purchase.
Contact Phil Anderson at (785) 295-1195 or follow live reports @Philreports on Twitter. Like him on Facebook at facebook.com/philreports.tcj/.