Chasing a Dream

Cheri Hallwood, an award-winning, local children’s book author, hosted an open house at the Niles District Library on February 13, 2017 to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the publication of her first book Winter’s First Snowflake. Students from Eastside Connections School provided amazing performances to mark the occasion. Mrs. Prenkert’s kindergarten class performed an adorable dance to “Suzy Snowflake” by Rosemary Clooney, one of Cheri’s favorite childhood songs. They were all dressed in hats, scarves and mittens like the little girl on the cover of the book. Then the students from Ms. Wiemuth’s class acted the entire story of Cheri’s most recent book – Frogwilla, A Treefrog’s Story. The students made their own incredible sets and costumes.

All of Cheri’s books have won Mom’s Choice awards. Winter’s First Snowflake received the Mom’s Choice Award 2007 for the Most Outstanding Children’s Book. Cheri’s second book, The Curious Polka-Dot Present, was the Silver Recipient of the Mom’s Choice Award in 2008. Her third book, One Wish for Winifred Witch, won the 2010 Mom’s Choice Award for the Most Outstanding children’s Book. These three books are all picture books beautifully illustrated by Patricia Rose. Her fourth book, Frogwilla, A Treefrog’s Story, is a chapter book which she wrote at the request of her granddaughter Hannah who loves frogs. FrogWilla is illustrated by Hannah’s older sister Aubrey.

Following the performances, Cheri signed books while the guests enjoyed cake and snowflake cookies in honor of the book. Cheri spends a lot of her time getting children interested in reading at a young age which was part of her inspiration for writing books for children. Cheri, a lifelong Niles resident, was somewhat overwhelmed by the support of the community, the schools, the teachers and the locally owned stores that carry her books. You can find more information about Cheri’s books on her website: where you can also purchase her books which might be a good idea since April 2nd was Children’s Book Day.

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