The woman known in some circles as the "Apply Lady" and the "Manners Lady" has combined her specialties to create a children's book about manners, starring apples.
Retired second-grade teacher Jane Hanna of Wheeling said the book idea germinated about 10 years ago and grew out of a desire to leave a legacy for her six grandchildren.
In fact, her oldest granddaughter, 14-year-old Kathryn Jane Holt of Wheeling, illustrated the book with freehand, hand-colored drawings of the apple characters, Jonathan Goodapple, Granny Smith, Keith Crabapple and others. The book was printed and designed at Taylormade Printing in Wheeling.
Jane Hanna of Wheeling, right, is the author of a new book on manners called “The Magic List,” which her granddaughter, Kathryn Jane Holt of Wheeling, illustrated. At left is the book cover.
"The Magic List: A Story About Manners and a Surprise" centers on Jonathan who receives and invitation to a party at Debbie McIntosh's house. Before going to the party, Granny Smith introduces the young apple to "The Magic List," a list of good manner rules to help ensure everyone would have a good time and be invited back. The list includes: "Reply to the invitation. Be on time. Use good table manners. Say please and thank you. Be a good sport. And, thank the hostess when you leave."
Jonathan follows the rules, but his classmate Keith Crabapple does not, wreaking havoc at Debbie's party with his poor manners and bullying behavior. In the end, Jonathan's good manners earn him a surprise invitation to return to Debbie's to swim the following day.
Hanna said she feels the book provides a good lesson for today's youngsters.
"Manners is not something that we take the time to talk about. ... But I've heard more and more people mention manners on the national news programs and things. I think people are thinking about it more and more," Hanna said. "There is a certain civility that is lacking, if only people would respect each other a little.
For years, Hanna taught a manners program at Country Day and throughout the local area. She even started a weekly afterschool Manners Club at the school. She also developed and implemented Apple Week at the school, during which she presented a cross-curricular program that included apple snacks and apple facts.
She dedicated the book to her grandchildren - who also are included in the book as party guests -and to the Wheeling Country Day School students "who enjoyed Apple Week and the Manners Club."
"What an honor it was that Jane named her Wheeling Country Day School students in her dedication. Jane was a special part of the Wheeling Country Day School Community for many years and taught the importance of manners and character through special activities like 'Apple Week' and 'Manners Club' that so many of our alumni remember fondly. Although she has retired from our faculty, we feel so honored that she continues to share her talents with our school as a volunteer," said Elizabeth Hofreuter-Landini, head of school.
Hanna said having her granddaughter illustrate the book was not part of the original plan.
"I was in the process of looking for an illustrator, and she said, 'I'll try,'" Hanna said. Kathryn is an eighth-grader at The Linsly School and has won awards there for her artwork as well as taking best of show in the Student Art Show of Excellence at Artworks Around Town in Wheeling in 2010.
So Hanna had draw the main characters. 'And by golly, she just captured exactly what I was looking for. I was flabbergasted. I knew she was a good artist and everything, but just really captured the right expressions," Hanna said.
"I thought, 'Wow, isn't this special?' I hadn't heard of anybody doing a book with their granddaughter. ... It was a real learning experience for both of us. ... It was interesting and a lot of fun," she said.
Hanna's husband, Bill, who teaches journalism at West Liberty University, helped immensely with proofreading and spreading the word about the book.
"It was a real family affair," the author said.
"The publication of 'The Magic List' is the fulfillment of a longtime dream for Jane, and I couldn?t be happier for her," Bill Hanna said. "She has been the apple of my eye since I first saw her, and as we approach our 48th wedding anniversary in April, she still is."
To book is available for a limited time exclusively at Words and Music at Stratford Springs, Wheeling or by calling the Hannas at 304-277-2514 or 304-281-5675.
Two book signings have been scheduled: noon to 2 p.m. Saturday at Words and Music and 1-2 p.m. April 27 at Wheeling Country Day School.