Retired elementary school teacher writes children’s bookBy CHERIL VERNON
The Palestine Herald
A local retired school teacher has started her second career — writing children’s books.
Judy Perry Drewett, who retired after 28 years of teaching elementary school — including 21 years at Northside Early Childhood Center, has written a full-color children’s book called “’Til the Cows Come Home.”
“This book was inspired by a kindergarten student’s curiosity — a little boy with a vivid imagination,” Drewett said. “Thomas, the little boy in the book, begins to see cows everywhere he goes.”
While the book won’t be officially released until Nov. 10, a book signing will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 26 at Northside Early Childhood Center’s library.
Drewett got the idea to write the book from a kindergarten student who wasn’t paying attention to his work in class. She told him to start doing his work or he wouldn’t get finished ‘til the cows came home.
The little boy then raised his hand and asked “What does it mean ‘when the cows come home’?”
In the book, for example, he’s not paying attention when the teacher asks him to get in the line to leave the playground. When the little boy looks at the other students already in line, they are all cows — even the teacher.
“As a teacher, I know young children are mesmerized by books with animals dressed like humans,” Drewett said. “That’s why I wanted to write this book.”
“’Til the Cows Come Home” is appropriate for children ages 3 to 9, Drewett said, but will appeal to all ages.
Drewett was born in Abilene to parents who were missionaries — traveling all over from place to place. Even so, Drewett has lived in Texas for 32 years.
While getting her Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from Harding University in Searcy, Ark., she met her husband, Roy Drewett. They married in 1969 and have been married for 40 years.
Drewett began her career teaching first grade in Memphis, Tenn. and later second grade in Concord, Ark.
She then stopped teaching for a few years to rear her children. For 15 years of their marriage, her husband was a preacher. Their daughter, Jennifer, was born in Rome, Italy while they were serving as missionaries. They then moved to Texas and a son, Roy Drewett Jr., was born in Hearne.
When the children were older, Drewett went back to teaching — first for a private school in Athens, then spending one year teaching music in Dallas.
They moved to Palestine in 1986 when her husband got a job as a probation officer.
“Then I started 22 years of teaching in Texas schools — first one year at Athens teaching fifth grade and then I started my 21 years of teaching at Northside.”
At Northside, she taught second grade for 12 years and kindergarten for her last nine years.
She retired last May from teaching. Her husband also retired last year as the director of adult probation.
“It’s been a lifelong dream — wanting to write — but after teaching at Northside I knew I wanted to write children’s books,” Drewett said. “And that’s why I wanted to have the book signing at Northside — because of my principal Barbara Dutton.”
Her book, published by Tate Publishing Co. in Oklahoma City, will be available to order from major book chains including Barnes & Noble, Border and Amazon, among others.
Drewett also has a new Web site in the works where you can pre-order the book: www.judyperrydrewett.com
“This is a second career for me and I hope to continue as long as I can. I want to keep writing,” Drewett said, noting she hopes to do rhyming books in the future.
Drewett and her husband enjoy spending time with their family — daughter Jennifer and Mike Austin of Tyler and their children, Drew Austin, Julia Austin and Claire Shultz; and son Roy Drewett Jr. and wife Meredith of Gresham and their children, Anna Grace Drewett and Abigail Drewett.
“I love reading to my grandchildren, baking, spending time with my 88-year-old mother and teaching Sunday school to kindergarten and first graders,” Drewett said.
Drewett attends Court Drive Church of Christ and is a member of the Delta Kappa Gamma teacher sorority.
The public is invited to attend the book signing at Northside’s library on Sept. 26, from 2 to 4 p.m. During the event, her books will be sold for $10 (normally the price is $10.99 plus tax). Refreshments will be available.