Lower Burrell author Tamara Girardi publishes the first children’s book, ‘Why, Dad? Why?’

It was at the time when Gabriella Girardi turned 4 years old that the questions started.

“Research shows that the age of 4 is the age where we ask the most questions. No other age on the planet asks more questions than a 4-year-old, ”said her mother, Tamara Girardi of Lower Burrell.

But what made Gabriella’s questions different was how she posed them – with a “Why?” in the beginning and a “Why?” at the end.

“It was a bit like a double tumult,” her mother said. “I loved that structure. We found it so fun and humorous as a family that we decided to write a book.”

Girardi celebrated the release of “Why, Daddy? Why?” in Gabriella’s first grade at Mary Queen of the Apostles Catholic School in New Kensington on Tuesday. They read the book along with Gabriella, now 7, who asked the questions and her mother answered.

While the children’s board book reflects the questions Gabriella asked her mother and father, Domenick, Girardi said she wanted it to be a “father book.” And in the book, father and daughter are illustrated as bears.

“We took these questions and turned them into answers that show that everything parents do is for their children,” Girardi said. “Dad is so tall he can help his kid soar through the sky. He has a watch on so he knows when it’s time to give her a hot tub. Everything comes back to the baby bear in the story.”

“Why, Dad? Why?” is Girardi’s second book and her first children’s book, published by Familius. Her first, a young adult novel called “Gridiron Girl”, came out in March.

“Gridiron Girl” is the first book in a six-book contract that Girardi has with publisher Wise Wolf Books.

The first four are sports books – “Disorder on the Court” is scheduled for release on May 31, followed by “Ultimate Takedown” in August and finally “Shot Through the Heart” in November.

The last two books will be part of another series and are under development.

Girardi, 40, grew up Tamara Simpson in New Kensington and graduated from Valley High School in 2000. She took a bachelor’s degree in English and humanities from Jacksonville University in Florida in 2004, a master’s degree in fiction, creative writing from the University of St. Louis. Andrews in Scotland in 2005 and a PhD in English from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 2014. In between her graduate studies, she wrote for the Valley News Dispatch.

She is an associate professor of English at Harrisburg Area Community College and teaches by distance learning.

“Why, Dad? Why?” is the first whiteboard book Girardi has ever submitted. It is suitable for newborns up to 4 years.

“It was really exciting to be picked up by a publisher,” she said.

It happened in August 2019. That it is coming out right now was not a covid pandemic delay.

“It takes so much time to develop the illustrations for picture books and blackboard books that the production time is usually very long,” she said.

The book will be available through online retailers and at the Mystery Lovers Bookshop in Oakmont. It’s on sale on Amazon for $ 8.99, where it’s marked as an Editor’s Pick for best books for kids up to 2 years old.

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Lent by Familius

The cover of Tamara Girardi’s new children’s book, “Why, Dad? Why?” The board book, published by Familius, is illustrated by Nichola Cowdery.

But kindergarten students at Mary Queen of Apostles and New Kensington-Arnolds Martin Elementary School do not have to go and lead. Girardi raised $ 2,000 in donations from local businesses to buy copies for them at a reduced price from Mystery Lovers.

Students at the Mary Queen of Apostles received their books Tuesday; those at Martin Elementary must receive them May 24th.

“Of course we’re grateful for that. Kids love books, especially when they’re younger,” said Mary Queen of Apostles principal Cathy Collett. “They like to have their own copies and take them home. This was special. ”

As she gets older, Gabriella has stopped asking so many questions. But her younger brother, Domenick, Girardi’s fourth child, is 3 and has just started.

“It’s fun just in a way to make fun of this aspect of the eternal questions,” Girardi said. “For parents, we are incredibly busy, and we have so many demands on our time.

“In the story, the father bear is so patient with the kid and all the questions. The answers to the questions are always centered around love, family and time.

“History reminds us that it’s OK to slow down and enjoy family time a little more. These phases, they do not last. They all pass.”

Brian C. Rittmeyer is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Brian at 724-226-4701, brittmeyer@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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