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Heart Attack Leads to a Children's Book from a Former Weekly Reader Editor
Hartford, CT - May 3, 2004 /Send2Press Newswire/ -- A delightful and bright
children's book of poetry, The Macaroon Moon (ISBN: 0-913337-51-X), was published
this year because of a sudden tragedy striking the author, her family and the
publishing company she founded, Southfarm Press. Wanda Haan, the author of "The
Macaroon Moon," was executive editor of Southfarm, which had been publishing military
history for 20 years. Wanda had also been a managing editor of Weekly Reader
children's newspapers for 16 years and had written extensively for elementary school
children and teachers.
As Southfarm Press was preparing to celebrate 20 years of book publishing, Wanda,
without any history of heart disease, died suddenly of a heart attack on January 30,
2003. She was 59. Her family has since learned, the hard way, that while breast
cancer is well-known for causing women's deaths, heart disease is their number one
killer. Southfarm Press has now set up a Web Site for Wanda's children's book, The
Information about this surprising literary find is at
http://www.wandahaan.com. Five-percent of the book's sales are being donated to
support research to fight heart disease in women. One woman in three in America will
die of heart disease, more than eight times the number killed by breast cancer.
In grief after Wanda's death, her family went through her stacks of papers associated
with her writings and editing for publishers such as Rand McNally, Benchmark
Publishing, and the Pearson Education Group. To the family's great surprise, about
100 poems and short stories by Wanda for elementary school children were found hidden
in these mounds of paper.
"It became clear that I couldn't throw any papers away without examining every sheet
and there were thousands of sheets," said Walter Haan, her husband of 30 years.
Walter added: "I spent weeks in every room in the house examining Wanda's papers for
poems. I even found a poem in a box in the garage." A customer service representative
from one of Southfarm's printers, upon hearing about the lost poetry and stories,
exclaimed, "This is a gift."
So in late June last year, it was decided by Wanda's family and Southfarm Press to
publish her children's poetry. Nineteen poems were selected from a manuscript she had
titled The Macaroon Moon. She had evidently written these poems while giving poetry
lessons to her two daughters, Sarah and Emily, who were nine and seven years old at
Southfarm Press hired Donald Christensen, an art director at Weekly Reader for 30
years to illustrate The Macaroon Moon. Don is noted for his unique illustration
style, using a cut paper technique to make clear, strong images to visually appeal to
readers of all ages. Besides Weekly Reader, Don has created illustrations for books
by Doubleday and for Fortune Magazine.
The Macaroon Moon was published in April 2004. "A week or so ago, an acquaintance
talked about Wanda after learning of the book," said Walter. She said, "It was never
about her when you were with her. She was always making it about the other people in
the room, never drawing attention to herself."
"I am now making it about her," adds Walter.
Wanda's computer had been in her kitchen. In that kitchen she cooked, edited military
history and wrote for children. On the day she died, she had e-mailed a long
attachment to Benchmark Publishing that she had edited. Then she made a meat loaf and
lay down on the couch to watch the evening news. Her husband heard her gasping. The
meat loaf was cooling in the kitchen while the emergency personnel struggled to bring
her back. But Wanda had died before Walter could call 911. Heart disease in women can
strike that quickly, without warning.
- Title: The Macaroon Moon: A Book of Poems and Rhymes for Children
- Author: Wanda Haan, illustrated by Donald Christensen
- Publisher: Southfarm Press
- ISBN: 0-913337-51-X; Hardcover; 32pp; 7.25 x 10.25 Full Color
- $17.95 SRP
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