Spending time with grandparents and listening to their stories is always fascinating. People like to hear about their experiences and what events helped shape their lives.
Mindy Standley loved to sit with her grandmother Addie Cunningham Walker and listen to her stories. Her grandmother passed away in 2008 but her stories live on in Standley’s children’s books.
“Addie, Be Brave,” is Standley’s second book and is a tribute to Osage men and women who served in World War II. Standley cherishes her memories with her grandmother, of the two talking, laughing and spending time together. Her first book was “Frybread for Addie.”
The Cedar Chest shop in Pawhuska hosted a book signing for Standley on Feb. 13.
“The Cedar Chest is very proud to host Mindy Standley and her new book. We consider it an honor to promote our Osage artists anyway we can,” said Julie O’Keefe, Cedar Chest owner. “Another way to support our artists is to support the Osage Foundation. I sit on the board of the Foundation and we helped fund Mindy’s book. Our mission is to treasure and support our Culture and our Osage artists.”
In “Addie, Be Brave” Addie is very lonesome for her brother who is away at war and the story begins with her receiving a letter from him. Through the course of the story she comes to terms with his absence and finds a way she can support him. Standley’s books have been illustrated by Osage artist C.R. Red Corn. He was a friend of the late Addie Cunningham Walker so that makes working with him even more special, she said.
The crowd at the book signing was lively and chatting with Standley. Store owners Danette Daniels and O’Keefe provided brunch, along with Kathryn Red Corn. The event sold 25 copies of the book and orders are still coming in for the hard back, which is set to arrive next week.
“I am thrilled with the turnout that Danette and Julie have had for Mindy’s books signing here. I wish CR could be here, without him the book wouldn’t be possible,” said Debra Atterberry, Standley’s mother. “So as a mom it thrills my heart with my friends and so many Osages interested in children’s books that are about Osages.”
Standley was also inspired for the story by her uncle Jack and her grandma’s older brother and their letters during war time. Her grandmother would take the letters out and share them with Standley. She was also inspired by a young man who played football for her husband and became close to the family. She said he was like an older brother to their children and when he was deployed to Afghanistan it was hard on her daughter. They corresponded with him while he was overseas.
“I like to write about characters you can relate to. Characters you can see yourself in, or people that you know and find the problem in the story and be able to resolve the conflict with something that draws you in,” she said.
Her first book, “Frybread for Addie,” took four years from the first sentence written to the date of publication. It took her six to nine months to write the second book. After several revisions and being submitted to writer’s groups, the second book took three years to publish from start to finish.
Standley likes to sit with Osage elders to get a sense of how culture has evolved.
“The large number of Osages who served in World War II made a huge impact on me. They were so brave and courageous. Our young people need to know their stories,” Standley said.
She loves to hear from readers and looks forward to reading to children at schools and head starts.
She is the daughter of Debra Atterberry of Pawhuska and Jim Littleton of Bartlesville. Her maternal grandmother is the late Addie Cunningham Walker. Her great-grandparents were Lillie Big Horse Cunningham and Henry Cunningham. She is from the Pawhuska District.
Original Publish Date: 2016-03-07 00:00:00