Cougars A to Z: One alum's journey to publish a children's book about Washington State University
By KEVIN HANSON
Bonney Lake-Sumner Courier-Herald Reporter
October 9, 2012 · 1:41 PM
A long-standing desire to write a children’s book, combined with a passion for her alma mater, finally came together for Bonney Lake resident Carla Nellis.
The result, “WSU Cougars – from A to Z,” is now filling the bookshelves of fellow Wazzu alums everywhere.
“I have always wanted to write a book and I love picture books,” said Nellis, a longtime teacher. “I’m also fascinated by history and a Coug. So when you combine those passions with all these amazing facts I found about WSU, I knew this was the book I was meant to write.”
The process of getting a book into print was more involved than Nelliss had imagined. Early on, she had the idea to produce a picture book aimed at the juvenile audience, a book that would uncover and explain some of the nuggets found on her beloved Pullman, Wash., campus. But Nellis quickly discovered the process was more complex than expected; writing about a university and incorporating the WSU brand meant going through the collegiate licensing process.
"I didn't intend to start a publishing company," she said.
However, once the proper paperwork was in hand, Nilles set her sights beyond a single effort and in 2010 founded Green Beanie Books. Her company will be producing similar “A to Z” books highlighting other institutions across America. Nilles isn’t at liberty to divulge her home-based company’s next efforts, but she notes four are in the works by other authors under her Green Beanie umbrella. The plan is to release those books during
While keeping an eye on the future, Nellis is plenty busy with the present – pitching her WSU book to the Cougar nation. She occupied a booth in the stadium exhibition hall Saturday when WSU took on the University of Oregon at Century Link Field in Seattle. She was in Pullman twice during during September, promoting her book and selling copies.
Nellis took a 26-item approach to Washignton State University that touches on the familiar – for example, A is for Apple Cup, the annual gridiron battle between WSU and the rival Washington Huskies – along with some relatively obscure items. Those thumbing to the final pages will learn that Z is for Zella Melcher, who penned the lyrics to the WSU fight song in 1919 as part of a class project.
Along the way, readers get a brief look at famous WSU alums like sportscaster Keith Jackson, a 1954 grad, and Edward R. Murrow, a 1930 graduate whose broadcasts from Europe during World War II set the tone for television news when TV journalism was in its infancy.
Bringing the book to life, Nellis incorporated the talents of watercolor artists Stephan Moss and Naphtali Morden.
The father-daughter team did "a wonderful job portraying important moments in Cougar history, as well as landmarks on campus that everyone will recognize,” Nellis said. She also features unique historical photos, showing key figures in WSU history and memorable campus events in the book.
Nellis said the WSU book is a direct result of her drive to see kids educated. A veteran of the elementary classroom, Nellis now reaches students through the Washington Virtual Academy, teaching online courses.
"I wanted to encourage kids to think about college," she said, explaining the picture-book approach.
“WSU Cougars _ from A to Z” is being sold at WSU bookstores in Pullman and on branch campuses, as well as Costco stores throughout the Puget Sound region and in eastern Washington. It also is available at the Cougar outlet at Seattle's Westlake Center and can be ordered through Amazon or by visiting www.greenbeaniebooks.com.Contact Bonney Lake-Sumner Courier-Herald Reporter Kevin Hanson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 360-825-2555.