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Retired Wetzel County Teacher Publishes First Book

December 6, 2017
Wetzel Chronicle

Wetzel County resident and retired teacher Jan Thornton Jones announced the publication of her first illustrated children's book, "The Angel in the Park." According to Jones, the book is about a young child who hears her minister's message in church and then takes action to help the homeless people who live in the town's park. This is the story of a young child's choice to make a difference in her community while serving as an angel in disguise.

The book was published by Christian Faith Publishing, a small Christian based publisher located in Meadville, PA. Although the illustrations for the book were done by the publisher's art department, they were created from detailed descriptions provided by Jones.

"I wrote descriptions of every background and exactly what color clothing each character would have on. Then they drew up a black and white storyboard. I then made changes in the illustrations. The changes could have been as simple as changing the hair bow on the little girl Sadie or as large as completely changing the background stained glass windows in another. I had to write these changes in detail and send them back to the art department. When I finally approved the storyboard, they colorized the illustrations," Jones explained.

Article Photos

The illustration and editorial process took several months and was all handled electronically.

Jones actually wrote this book years ago while she was still teaching and her children were small. She submitted it to many well known publishers and discovered most of them would not accept unsolicited manuscripts.

"I got tired of the rejection after while and just set about five real nice stories aside. Now that I'm retired, I just got the bug to try to see them published. Today, there are many smaller publishers who are willing to take on a no name author and I was lucky enough to find a home for this story," Jones said.

Jones taught for both Wetzel and Tyler schools. She also owned and operated her own preschool for many years. However, most of her teaching career was spent teaching pre-kindergarten through first grade for Wetzel County Schools.

"As an early childhood teacher, I've probally orally read thousands of books to my students. I'm very excited by the opportunity to share a message in my own words. Publishing a book has been on my bucket list for years," said Jones.

Jones was born in Texas but moved to New Martinsville where she attended Magnolia High School. She always enjoyed writing especially short stories.

"I loved Mrs. Francis Malson's English classes at Magnolia High School where she encouraged creative writing," said Jones.

After graduating high school, Jones attended West Virginia University where she earned a degree in elementary education as well as two masters of arts degrees. Jones and her husband of forty years, Don have two adult children, a daughter-in-law and two grandchildren together.

She currently has another children's book called "Why Me" being published by Lighthouse Christian Publishing and will be available in the summer of 2018.

Jones would like to perform author readings for schools. She was invited to a Christian School in the Clarksburg area. While there, she spoke to seven classes of children from preschool to sixth grade. She reads the book and then discusses the publishing process. Jones then also discussed the story and allowed the children to give their opinion on the identity of the angel in the park.

"There is no right or wrong answer and it's up to the reader to answer that question. I hand wrote in the front cover of each book "Be the Angel!" I showed them the inscription and then discussed how each one of us can be the angel through our own good works. In other words, we can be the hands, feet and heart of Jesus," explained Jones.

For samples of the beautiful illustrations, free coloring pages, or ordering infomation, visit her website janjonesbooks.com

 
 
 

 

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