Children’s Book Author Knows Her ABC’s of Healthy Food

Aug 09, 2017
Photo by: Pat Johnson Author Juliane Stokes with Anna Huckaby of Manahawkin and her daughter Finley.

Mother of three, author, illustrator, pescatarian – these are all words to describe Julianne Stokes, formerly of Barnegat Light. Stokes has self-published her first children’s picture book, ABC Healthy, from her home in Snowmass, Colo., and was at Pangaea Health Food Market in Manahawkin last Friday to share her book with a young audience.

She had set up a table with crayons and coloring pages from her book and Pangaea co-owner Becky Tarditi provided organic grapes and lemonade. The children who came were delighted as they listened to Stokes read her book to them.

Perhaps they weren’t fully aware of all the ABC words. Apples, bananas and carrots were pretty easy but what do you do when faced with Q, X, Y and Z?

“Q is for quinoa,” writes Stokes. “It sounds mysterious, but it’s a carbohydrate filled with fiber, phosphate, magnesium and iron for you.”

“X is for xigua (shi-gwah), another name for watermelon. There are many types of this excellent fruit. It is so juicy it will make you holler and hoot.”

Y was for yams and Z is for zucchini.

Healthy eating is very important to Stokes, who decided to become a pescatarian, a vegetarian who eats fish, when she was in college. “I always ate healthy. My parents had a farm in Quakertown, N.J., and we always had a garden and we had sheep. When I was little my brother pointed out that we were eating a lamb from the back yard and I said, ‘No, I don’t want to eat this.’”

But it wasn’t until she went to the University of Colorado in Boulder that she could fully make her own choices.

Stokes lived in Barnegat Light after receiving her BA in studio art with an emphasis on photography. She began substitute teaching in the elementary schools on the Island and at Southern Regional. “It was in the high school that I realized how poorly the kids were eating. They had a snack food stand that was open before lunch and I could see them crashing after lunch time.”

At this time she also met Tarditi, who became her landlord. “That was eight or nine years ago. We connected at Black-Eyed Susans (Harvey Cedars restaurant). She was the reason I was able to stay in Barnegat Light.”

Three years ago, Stokes and her husband moved to Colorado to raise their children. When her second child was born in 2013, Stokes started the illustrations for the book and later did the research on nutrition. “Then I had to put all the info into rhymes.”

It took two years for her to finish the book and also compose the layouts on Adobe Photoshop. She went the self-publishing route so she could have more control over the process, she said. “The good thing is you don’t have someone telling you what to do.”

And even though the marketing and promoting is all up to Stokes, she said it’s not that much work. “Even traditional publishing now expects you to do your own marketing and selling.”

Since 2015, Stokes has been selling her books at library functions and in stores both in the LBI area and in Colorado. She feels she has just about broken even on her investment.

“But it’s really more about spreading the word,” she explained. “I hope it encourages parents and children to eat healthier.”

ABC Healthy is available at Pangaea or by contacting julian@jstokesart.com.

— Pat Johnson

patjohnson@thesandpaper.net

 

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