Highland News Leader

Retired Triad teacher pens children’s book

Jennifer Hobbs Zahn reads to children from Windmill Pre-School during Children’s Book Week in early May at the Charles Gravius Memorial Library in Marine.
Jennifer Hobbs Zahn reads to children from Windmill Pre-School during Children’s Book Week in early May at the Charles Gravius Memorial Library in Marine. Courtesy photo

Jennifer Hobbs Zahn loves telling stories.

“I’d make up stories in the classroom,” said Zahn, who taught school for 38 years, mostly second and third grades.

The Marine resident recently published her first children’s book, entitled That Old Barn, about a barn that stood east of her home town.

“I have a grandson, Elijah, and he was the one who inspired me to write this book,” said Zahn, who taught in a variety of states, including Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana before coming to the Triad School District in 1993 and retired in 2001.

When she and Elijah would enter or exit Marine, they would pass the old barn.

“Everytime we would pass it, he and I would talk about it. It just became our thing,” Zahn said. “When the seasons would change and the barn would look different — or get so dark you couldn’t see it — we would just keep talking about how it looked different.”

She started writing the book when Elijah was 3 years old.

“It didn’t take me long to write the book, but the revisions took me a while. I just took my time with it.”

About a year later, the barn was torn down. That would have been a sad moment if it wasn’t for the book.

“Fortunately, I took a picture before they tore it down,” Zahn said.

Now she and Elijah have a memory they can revisit over and over again — just turning the pages.

Zahn said she has heard nothing but positive things about the book, but don’t look for it in stores, just yet.

“I haven’t done much to place the book in stores, but you can buy it online on Amazon,” she said. “I did read the story to the children at the Marine library, too.”

But as far as another book goes, Zahn said she’s not planning on it.

“I think this was a one-time thing. It was such a big project,” she said. “I’m glad I did it, but I’m not sure if I’d do it again.”

About the book

One day, Little Guy and Nana went out for a drive. They drove by an old barn that looked like it was very sad and about to fall down. Inside the barn, they could also see an unhappy old tractor, who looked like he just wanted to be useful again.

Little Guy asked Nana to take them by the barn every day on their drive home from school. Little Guy felt sorry for the poor old barn and its friend the tractor, so he started to pray that they’d both be saved. Nana was proud of her little grandson, who took the time to care about others. It just goes to show that even the littlest among us can have big hearts, too.

Book Signing: Jennifer Hobbs Zahn will be signing copies of her book “That Old Barn” at the Charles Gravius Memorial Library, 202 E. Silver Street in Marine, from 1 to 3 p.m. on Saturday, June 4.

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