Tonia Allen Gould partners with CASA to promote healthy concepts of home, never giving up, and how to stand up to bullies

Author Tonia Allen Gould and Samuel T. Moore Fans Danica and Samantha with CASA Director Chastity Keller
By: 
Jamie Stoner
Staff Writer

Tonia Allen Gould came to Indiana to do a book tour promoting ‘Samuel T. Moore of Corte Magore’ in partnership with Executive Director Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Marshall County Chastity Keller. The themes of the book illustrate healthy concepts of establishing a “home” and positive ways to overcome bullying.

“When I was writing the book, my daughter was the inspiration for it. She was babbling “Corte Magore” over and over again while playing with her toes. We had no idea what she was talking about. And since I fancy myself as a bit of a poet I started writing the book in my head.” Gould continued that it took her 18 years to seriously consider publishing it.

Gould chose a fiddler crab to be the protagonist in Corte Magore. Gould smiled as she described the small red hero. “Sam is different. He has one large claw and one smaller claw. There are times that kids are bullied for being perceived as different by their peers. That’s a big element within this book. His appearance alone is a potential starting point for conversations.” In addition to his appearance, fiddler crabs are by nature very protective of their homes and this also supports significant themes within the book.

Gould grew up in Marshall County. She graduated from Culver. Like the children who find themselves needing the services of CASA, Gould herself experienced being removed from her home for her safety. Ultimately, Gould, like Samuel, found her way in this life, and built a safe and stable home of her own.

Gould believes that children’s book have the potential for effectively dealing with bullying issues at a very early age. “Bullying is becoming commonplace and it is becoming obvious that kids do not know how to stand up to a bully. So either they are silent or they don’t approach it in the right way.”

“Kids are starting to have a voice. That platform is their school. I believe that there are ways that kids can behave throughout the school year apart from large walkouts. They really need to start talking to their peers.”

Gould and Keller collaborated on a list of questions to be placed in the back of the CASA books being passed out. The questions are intended to help get the conversation started about what a child may be going through in their own lives as they share their insights about Sam. These range from having a dream, fighting for that dream, not giving up and not having to be perfect in the process.

Gould and Keller have hopeful ambitions for spreading the inspiring message found within the pages of this book as far reaching as every school and every county in the state of Indiana.” Samuel T. Moore may live on the island of Corte Magore, but his message of hope for children is spreading from California to Indiana. “We want to have kids accept others for who they are. I don’t know how to teach that except for through words, pictures, books and stories. There is a narrative there. We have to find it. This is one good start.”

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