By Maggie Kenworthy
MILFORD — Milford native Erin Weybright recently wrote and published an inspiring children’s book titled “When Norah Grows Up.” The story focuses on the real-life question posed to her daughter Norah, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
“When kids are going back to school or when they’re little, it’s fun to ask kids, ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ And lots of times they have silly answers,” said Weybright. “Sometimes they say ‘I want to be a doctor’, sometimes they say, ‘I want to be just like you,’ sometimes they just think of Dora the Explorer or a Disney princess.”
The children’s story starts with Weybright asking Norah, 3, what she wants to be when she grows up. Then, Norah asks other influential people in her life the same question.
“At the end, it comes around to the fact that she really just wants to be herself because she’s an awesome person and she loves who she is,” explained Weybright. “It’s definitely one of those inspiring stories for little kids to think about all the things that can be when they grow up, who they want to be — even when they’re just such little ones still.”
She began writing the book during the summer of 2019. The writing and editing process moved quickly and she began to work with an illustrator around the end of 2019.
Fort Wayne artist Jordan Kurzen illustrated the book. After their initial discussion and meeting Norah, Kurzen was able to bring the story to life.
“When we met the next time, it actually made me cry because it was like she was in my brain. She knew exactly what I was thinking,” said Weybright. “Everything just looked even better than I expected, better than I could have hoped.”
Throughout the entire process, both Norah and her sister Makenna were heavily involved.
“She (Norah) was so proud of it, which has been really cute and to know that someday she’ll be even more proud of it, hopefully, and realize this could be like a legacy for her that her story can impact other people and how proud I am of who she is already,” said Weybright. “Someday maybe she’ll love it on a totally different level than just being proud of reading her own book about herself.”
Norah’s older sister, who is featured in the story, was able to read the book to Norah before it was published.
“Since she’s older too, we had her read the story to Norah, which has been really fun,” said Weybright. “She got to be part of the editing process as well, which I think she really loved.”
Weybright notes that publishing during the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the process a little.
“Barnes & Noble is going to have me do a reading at their physical stores here in Fort Wayne and I can do a book signing, but all of that stuff has been put on hold,” said Weybright. “It’s been an interesting start putting this out mid-pandemic.”
When Weybright, a 2007 graduate of Wawasee High School, isn’t writing children’s books, she’s working full-time as a manufacturing accounting manager at Franklin Electric in Fort Wayne, where she now lives.
She has always worked in finance, “Which is why I surprised a lot of people when I told them I wrote a book. And they’re like, ‘Wait, does your brain even work that way?’ said Weybright. “I do words I just don’t do pictures.”
Since she had so much fun writing the first book, she has already written a second book called “Norah Is Funny.” This book, which isn’t published yet, centers around Norah’s third birthday party, “which was a really fun day.”