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Susquehanna Life

Former Wallaceton-Boggs Elementary Teacher Publishes Coming of Age WWII Book

Jun 18, 2015 11:21AM ● By Kevin

Deep in the heart of small-town Pennsyvania, a resilient little girl comes of age during one of the most difficult times our country has ever known. Shortages and rationing; air raid drills and the deployment of neighbors and friends - in "Cora, It's war," doctor's daughter Cora Bensinger vividly experiences the struggles and sacrifices of those on the home front during World War II.

This is the plot of local author Daisy Reiter's new book. Reiter, a former elementary school teacher in the Phillipsburg-Osceola Area School District, has received great reviews on her work.

"Always moving, often funny, this blend of memoir and novel was written for children grades four through six, although readers of all ages are sure to love it!" her website says.

A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this book benefits Military Families Ministry.

Reiter was kind enough to take some time to answer some questions about her book. She'll be reading and signing copies at Country Cupboard in Lewisburg this Saturday, June 20, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Susquehanna Life Magazine: Tell us about the inspiration for the book: both the general idea and the plot, itself.

Daisy Reiter: I taught fifth grade American for most of my 26 year career.  When it came time to teach WWII the past 7 years, I decided to teach the history from trade books.  Each student with the assistance of a parent was given an age appropriate book to read.  I gave the children approximately 2 weeks to read their book.  On the day when the reading was over, I posted a large map of the world on the bulletin board.  The children were given stick pins to place on the country where their story was told.  There were no books about America’s children.  I was one of those children and decided when I retired, I would write that book and tell the story of my childhood.

SLM: How long did it take to complete beginning to end? Are you self-published or did you secure a publisher? What was that process like?

Reiter: I retired in 1997. The book took about 3 years to write.  I then began my search for a publisher. I was warned in advance that I may have problems getting it published because the editors of today are young and probably would not believe my story.  Finally after many rejection notices, I became discouraged and tucked the book away in a box on the shelf. Actually one of my rejection notices said, “I do not believe your main character.” About 2 years ago I had the good fortune to meet up with Jill Gleeson the author of GO PINK BOOTS.  She asked me if I knew anyone who had a book to promote.  I hesitantly told her about my book.  She gave it a read and announced we would publish this book at all costs. She tried to find an agent to accept the book, but was unable to do so.  I decided then to self-publish. We got the book into final form and took it to a local printer.  It was sent then to a company in California for binding.  My first 250 books were in print.

SLM: Talk more about your tour and upcoming signings. Why did you choose these specific places?

Reiter: I am presently engaged to read and sign books at the Country Cupboard on Saturday, June 20 from 11 AM – 2 PM.  July 4, I will be at the Boalsburg Military Museum at 1:30 PM, and on July 7 from 6 – 7 PM I will be at the Centre Hall Library.  I am available to speak to groups around this beautiful state of PA.  I would also welcome engagements at any WWII museums.  Last weekend I spoke at the Eldred WWII museum.  This is a story that needs to be told.  It’s a page of history that has been overlooked way too long.

SLM: Can you talk about the support you've received in doing this? Anyone you'd like to thank?

Reiter: The support from my family, fiends, and new acquaintances has been amazing. I would like to thank the people of the Philipsburg area for giving Cora such a beautiful start.  I am humbled by their compliments and love for this book.  A very special thank you to my family, my sister, Elly,  and Jill Gleeson.  The cover of the book was designed by a former student, Jack Williams.  Also thank you to Don Smith for helping me locate pictures of his sister, my best friend, Cynthia.  I will continue to promote this book as long as I’m able.  I am working with the Union County Historical Society to do a walking book tour.  Our hope is to walk the places in Lewisburg where this little girl goes as she travels the streets during WWII.  This date will be announced later.

SLM: How well has the book been received? What are your plans for the future? Another book? More touring?

Reiter: To date my book is very well received.  Although I wrote it for the intermediate child, grades 4 – 7.  It is selling to all age groups. I am now in my 3rd printing. I do have another book ready for final editing, but I can’t get that started right now.  I’m so busy with Cora.

SLM: Anything else you'd like to add?

Reiter: My website is I try to keep it updated. If you search the web under my name, it will direct you to the website.   Books are available in the Lewisburg area at The Mercantile, Country Cupboard and the Union County Historical Society.  I have been interviewed on WKOK, and also a station in the State College area.
In my wildest dreams I never expected to see this type of success. I am humbled.  Thank you to everyone for your support.

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