Five Years ago, Santa was hard to find. The Marshall County Library was struggling to get the jolly ole man to take time out of his busy holiday schedule to read to local children. Tammy Blackwell, Branch Manager at the library’s Calvert City branch had an idea. “We should have our own character for the library,” she said.
In 2013, images of book fairy’s were circulating the internet for Halloween costume ideas. And just like that, Merry The Christmas Fairy was created. In the first year, Blackwell developed the storyline and visited three story-hours and a local daycare as Merry The Christmas Fairy.
Merry is a fairy godmother assigned to guide and guard all the books in the world as Santa’s librarian. She lived in Florida and although she loved the warm air, she really wanted to see snow so she moved to the North Pole. Each December she visits the children of Marshall County sharing her love of reading. Merry has a lovely Christmas outfit with all the festive holiday colors and bright short red hair. Ironically, she has very similar features to Blackwell.
The kids loved the story of Merry The Christmas Fairy. Blackwell, again, had another idea. “Let’s turn Merry the Christmas Fairy into a children’s book! She had successfully published several books of her own and thought, “we can do this!” The Marshall County Public Library joined forces with all the elementary schools in the county. Each 5th grader was tasked with illustrating a page of the book. The book has 15 pages and each 5th-grade class hosts a competition. Blackwell writes a new story each year and one illustration from each 5th-grade class is selected for the book.
“Because of the support of Benton and Calvert City Lions Club and their donations, we are able to print the books at no cost to the library,” said Blackwell. In honor of the Lions Club, the title of this year’s book is Merry the Christmas Fairy and the Spectacle Spectacle. Merry encounters a snowman that doesn’t want to wear glasses. Merry takes the snowman to Santa who also wears glasses and explains that it’s okay to need a little help seeing. This book is special to the local Lions Club because it touches on the visually impaired. The Lions Club has a long history of serving the blind and visually impaired and remains committed to continuing this mission still.
“This is the fourth book published and in each book, I always try to be didactic so there is a lesson to learn,” said Blackwell. At the end of the book, the last page is dedicated to adults. “Often, it’s thought that all early literacy comes from reading books. These topics give adults more options to encourage children to read and develop critical thinking skills,” said Blackwell.
Copies of the book are available the Marshall County Library @Calvert City.
Merry is currently fluttering from classroom to classroom sharing her latest excursion. The winners from the book illustration competition will be autographing this years book on December 14 from 3:30 PM – 4:30 PM at the Marshall County Public Library in Benton.
“All the Christmas magic in the world comes from the pages of books. Magic is stored in the pages of books. Every time you open one up, it lets a little bit of magic in the air. So when you’re on Christmas Break, open those books so Santa can have enough magic to make his sleigh fly.”
– Merry The Christmas Fairy