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Book Nook - Elizabeth P. Smith

May 03, 2024 10:56AM ● By Lenora Kruk-Mullanaphy

When nine-year-old Mary Alice MacGyver is asked to look out for Mrs. Reed’s grandson, Andrew, at school, she assumes it will be an uncomfortable responsibility. Instead, it turns into a lasting friendship that winds up changing the young girl’s life. “Finding Mary Alice” by Elizabeth P. Smith takes readers on the adventures that living on a small farm in upstate New York bring.

In her first book, Smith gives young readers ages nine to 11 a glimpse into how Mary Alice makes friends, handles bullies, puts up with a domineering older sister, and develops her talents. They’ll see how she begins to believe in herself and value her gifts and talents with the love and support of her family.

Smith is currently writing the sequel to “Finding Mary Alice.” In “Mary Alice Carries On,” the fourth grader is excited that her school will be holding auditions for “The Little Mermaid,” because she loves to sing. Mary Alice is shy and a loner, so it doesn’t help when her sister, Sarah, tells her the main roles are always given to the sixth graders. On top of that, Sarah says she’d be lucky to make the chorus.

Mary Alice is determined to follow her dream and goes to tryouts and call-backs, earning the role she hoped for. However, life on the stage doesn’t come without its challenges. A few sixth-grade girls try to bully her—both on and off stage. Through this experience, she learns to believe in herself.  

Smith, who lived in Watertown, NY, for 28 years, was an art teacher for the Watertown City School District. She is a New York State certified elementary school teacher and also taught fourth grade.

“I was inspired by my family who lived in Watertown, my children’s adventures and the many children I taught in the Watertown City School District,” she says. “My granddaughter likes to think the book series is about her, and there are similarities between Mary Alice and her.”

Smith grew up in Hartsdale, NY, and graduated from Drew University in Madison, NJ with a Bachelor of Arts degree in art studio. She received a Master’s degree in education from the State University of New York at Potsdam.

A resident of Fredericksburg since 2015, Smith is married and has three adult children and two grandchildren. Her hobbies include painting and theatre. “I have a studio in my home and love to paint with acrylics,” she says. “I’ve been involved in school and community theatre all my life as an actor, director, and set designer.”

Smith has performed at Stage Door Productions, Fredericksburg Theatre Ensemble and Caroline Community Theatre and served as an understudy at the Riverside Center for the Performing Arts.

To purchase “Finding Mary Alice,” visit Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other bookstores.

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