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 SRU Education Professor Turns 'Dream' into Children's Book 




Contact: K.E. Schwab  -- 724-738-2199;  e-mail:

For photo of Dr. Slanina and her book: CLICK HERE


              SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. – The story came to Dr. Anne Slanina, associate professor of elementary education and early childhood at Slippery Rock University, in a dream and in short order she fleshed it out to a 46-page children’s book that is opening family discussions for nearly every reader.

          “It really was a dream, and when I awoke, it just felt right,” says Slanina, a seven-year member of the SRU faculty. Once written and illustrated by a former student of Slanina’s, Lisa Akers, a special education major at Youngstown State University, the SRU professor decided to have the book published herself.

          The Gallery 164 Bookstore in Slippery Rock will host Slanina for a 4 to 6 p.m. book signing Tuesday.

          Titled “Annie Mouse meets her Guardian Angel,” the 8½ by 11-inch book details the life of the title character who comes to find her guardian angel after experiencing family troubles. The children’s book evolves from Slanina’s research dealing with how and why children often create imaginary friends. She points out many children’s books present stories of loving families, but she noticed children who live in troubled families often may not relate to such stories.

          “My story tells of Mommy Mouse who frequently yells at Annie, leaving her with feelings that it must be her fault and to the belief that her mother doesn’t love her. The story allows Annie to turn to her guardian angel for help and understanding,” Slanina explains, adding, hopefully family members who read the book together will begin talking about such problems to help everyone better understand them and begin relieving family conflict.

          She says parents need to be more aware of what their children are saying about imaginary friends as another way of opening family dialogue. “This book may help some children see that they are not alone in issues facing many families. Annie is shy and quiet with many brothers and sisters in a house where Mommy Mouse works hard to keep house while facing problems of coping with all of her duties. In the story Annie is empowered to deal with problems instead of running and hiding when her mother yells.”

          In describing the brightly colored illustrations, Slanina says she first asked her son Michael to do the drawings, but he suggested his friend Akers, noting she might be more in tune with the book’s needs and storyline. The 50-plus, crayon-like drawings are certain to attract young readers’ attention.

          Calling it a “Book for bibliotherapy – a way of bridging communication between parents and children,” Slanina says she believes it will be of interest to pre-schoolers through third-grader. Slanina says additional episodes of “Annie” dealing with bullies or special needs friends are being planned.

          At SRU, Slanina supervises education majors involved in student teaching at schools throughout the region. She earned her doctorate in curriculum and instruction from Kent State University and holds a master’s degree in reading and an undergraduate degree in elementary education both from YSU. A longtime resident of Campbell, Ohio, Slanina has taught at a number of Youngtown area schools.

          The book is available through or by contacting Slanina at The book is also available at the SGA Bookstore on campus and at Gallery 164 Bookstore in Slippery Rock. The SRU professor says she also hopes to make the book available through Barnes and Noble and Borders bookstores.

PN, PGN, PWN, PR, PT – photo available at – see story


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