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Starkville author shares childhood story in ‘Blackbird’

December 10, 2011


Charity Gwaltney, director of children’s ministries at First Baptist Church Starkville, is signing copies of her children’s book today at the Book Mart & Cafe on Main St. The title of the book is “Grandpa’s Blackbird.”
The book tells the story of a young girl and the special bond she shares with her grandfather. Gwaltney is both the author and illustrator of the book.
“When I was a little girl, my grandpa would sit and tell me about his blackbird,” Gwaltney said. “And Grandpa’s blackbird was always right.”
In the book, Gwaltney describes how her grandfather would keep track of her and how she was doing by sending his blackbird to fly high in the sky and watch over her when they were apart. Gwaltney said she is looking forward to meeting with her friends and neighbors today at the signing.
“This is my first book and my first book signing, so I’m really excited about it,” Gwaltney said. “It’s always been a goal of mine to write a children’s book, and having this dream be realized is really special to me.”
Gwaltney said she owes her family thanks for being supportive of her effort. Gwaltney has lived in Starkville for nine years with her husband, Steve, and her two sons, Caleb and Joshua.
“My family has been so encouraging,” Gwaltney said. “My children have really enjoyed watching the process; they’re were as excited as I was when the boxes arrived from the publisher.
Gwaltney said she had a few inspirations for sharing her story of the game she used to play with her grandfather.
“Part of the reason I wrote the book was just to capture a part of my childhood that was important to me,” Gwaltney said. “I’m also hoping to inspire parents to tell their own stories to their children about when they were young and keep those stories alive in their families. I hope that one day my children will tell the story to their children.”
Carolyn Abadie, co-manager of the Book Mart & Cafe, said she is thrilled to feature a writer who lives right in our hometown.
“I think the book is just a beautiful story for children,” Abadie said. “It really showcases that unique relationship that children have with their grandparents. We’re so proud to have such a talented local author here and we all just love the story.”
Abadie said she believes local book signings are important because they significantly increase sales and publicity for local authors.
“We just really try our best to do everything we can as a local book store to promote local authors,” Abadie said. “When people come out to the book signings, not only is it a great show of support to our local talent, but those people get to see the author and talk to them in person. Then they can go back to their jobs or their friends and share that experience so that the next time maybe even more people will come out. We really believe it’s an important part of the culture of Starkville and we’re just really happy to be a part of it.”
Additional information about Gwaltney and her book “Grandpa’s Blackbird” can be found at

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