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Auburn woman captures spirit of her family farm life in children's book series
The lasting images and unforgettable stories often bring Janet Solar Lybeck back to the family farm.
As one of nine kids growing up in remote North Dakota, Lybeck captured her experiences in a collection of childhood writings she cherishes today.
Those fond family farm life memories eventually became the inspiration for a children's paperback book series.
"Teta's Adventures" chronicles the life of a caring, compassionate, curious cow, Teta, who encounters and helps others as she finds her way back home. The recently released, fictional short story is the first of a soon-to-be completed, five-book series for the self-published author, an Auburnite since 1959.
"I wanted to show how wonderful the life was growing up on the farm in North Dakota, where the people are so nice," said Lybeck, who grew up in the rural town of Mohall, near the Canadian border. "It was so easy writing the book because I pictured myself from the exact spot on my farm where I grew up. ... This whole book has things based on the farm."
In great detail and accompanied by delightful illustrations, the story is creatively designed to capture the imagination of the reader and entertainingly relays a message of friendship and determination. The story depicts farm life, especially a farmer's love of animals and how animals can be wonderful to others.
In the story, Farmer Mike and Maria – the actual names of Lybeck's parents – run a large, peaceful farm filled with animals. One night, rustlers carried off Farmer Mike's cattle, but a special cow managed to wander away from the herd.
Lost and frightened, Teta follows an eventful journey back home as she helps children along the way. She helps rescue a boy from a shallow well and helps another conquer his fears and his struggles with a stuttering problem.
"Everything she runs across she helps," Lybeck said.
Lybeck, a retired hospital unit clerk and office manager of 30 years, wanted to write the book series for many reasons, but none was more important than to bring an important message to children and families.
Lybeck and her late husband raised four children. She dedicated the first book to her grandchildren.
"I hope they enjoy and receive out of the book what I wanted to portray – that kindness and being a friend bring happiness to all involved," she said.
Auburn author Janet Solar Lybeck signs her recently released book, "Teta's Adventures", at noon Saturday at Barnes & Noble, 31325 Pacific Highway S., Federal Way. Her book, illustrated by Kelly Bornstedt and Juliann Clark, is available at the store and also online at www.amazon.com ($10.98).