Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
MT. PLEASANT – The Mt. Pleasant Public Library proudly display a new book from a local author this week.
Erin Ireland, a 2022 Digital Media Design Iowa Wesleyan University graduate, donated her self-published, authored, and illustrated book, Welcome to Teddyland, to the library.
This book is the physical expression of dreams Ireland had as a child of a magical land filled with teddy bears.
The main character pictured on the cover is actually a teddy bear her grandparents gave her for overnight stays at their house.
“My purple bear is named Teddy,” Ireland said. “My grandparents gave him to me in Christmas of 2003 and he stayed at their house for when I would go over there. Whenever I would spend the night I always had dreams of this magical land called Teddyland.”
“I always told my grandparents about it when I woke up,” she said. “It was like a dream that I always seemed to have as I grew up. I always thought it would be a cute kids book.”
The propelling force behind the creation of the book came from an independent study class at Iowa Wesleyan University.
“I was trying to decide what to do my topic on and I knew I wanted to do digital illustration,” Ireland said. “My professor, Roy Manfredi, was listing off project ideas and when he mentioned a children’s book. I knew that was the time to do it!”
And she did.
It took me 12 weeks to do the planning, writing and illustrating,” she said. “I had to order my final copies in time for them to be here by the end of the semester for the class.”
“I went through a website called Blurb,” Ireland said. “My professor helped me decide on that website, because it was the best for my short turnaround time as this was a semester project.”
Ireland attributes the accomplishment of creating this book to not only the very helpful Manfredi, but also her family.
“My biggest support has been my family, because they were all really excited when I told them about the book,” she said. “My mom helped me to post it on Facebook to let everyone know about it if they wanted to purchase a copy.”
Ireland’s grandmother, Jackie Quayle, is as excited as everyone else and thinks that her donation to the library is “awesome!”
Ireland’s original print was for 125 copies, which she has already sold most of.
“I have a few copies left,” she said, “but I plan on ordering more, as well.”
The Mt. Pleasant Public Library is the first library to have the book, but Ireland has plans to donate a few copies to the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital, also.
So far, she has enjoyed the journey of sharing this special memory with others through her talent and skills in digital media design.
“I do plan to write and illustrate some more children’s books,” Ireland said. “I think it would be cool to have a series about Teddy and Teddyland.”
Right now, Ireland is still looking for the right job post-graduation, however, she has a clear vision of what kind of work she hopes to pursue.
“I am wanting to be a graphic designer or in social media marketing or a job similar to those,” she said.
For now, she is just excited to share her work with community, and the community is excited to experience it.