On December 11, author Haley Marguerite Mariano visited Admiral Farragut Academy’s PreK, Kindergarten, and First Grade classes to read her book, Charlie Takes An Adventure.
Mariano, a Lynn University graduate, holds a Bachelor degree in Multimedia Journalism. She is a self-driven entrepreneur who holds affiliations with the American Cancer Society, Boca Helping Hands, and Hospice by the Sea. She has several years of Toastmasters International experience and has been awarded the Advanced Communicator’s Bronze Award.
In Mariano’s book, an adventurous penguin named Charlie is bored in his hometown of Pickering Wharf, Antarctica. Charlie has no one to play with, nothing to do, and winter lasts a really long time. Charlie sets off on a plane to Florida hoping to find the missing piece of his happiness. Throughout his journey, several events do not go as well as he had planned and hoped, leaving Charlie disappointed. As Charlie is approaching the exit of Happy World, he spots a sign that reads, “Fortune Teller – ALL wishes granted.” Charlie decides to walk down the path to pay a visit to the fortune teller… to tell her what has been going on and why he decided to leave his hometown. Enlightened by the Slovakian proverb, Charlie comes to the realization about the true meaning of life and he understands what he must do in order to be happy.
“I am Charlie,” Mariano said in response to a question from one of our students. “When I was young, my family left Massachusetts to move to Florida. I was so excited because I thought Florida was gonna be so fun. It was warm and there was so much to do. I learned when I was there, though, that not everywhere is perfect.”
Mariano was only 11 years old when she wrote Charlie Takes An Adventure. “It was for a school assignment initially,” she said. “One night, after brainstorming ideas for the assignment with my dad, I had a dream that basically was Charlie Takes An Adventure. I ran the idea past my dad, and he encouraged me to write it for the assignment. Seeing my finished book in hardcover form was so cool that I wanted to publish it for real!”
As excited as Mariano was about publishing her book, it took 13 years for it to get there. She was met with discouragement from all sides. “It wasn’t the publishers that discouraged me. It was my teachers and parents and friends. They all said that I was too young, that it was too expensive, and that I was too inexperienced.” The straw that broke the camel’s back, however, was an ex-boyfriend. “He told me, ‘darlin’, you’re just not smart enough to publish a book!’ It was then that I decided that if nobody else was going to believe in me, then I would have to believe in myself.”
Two years later, Charlie Takes An Adventure was a hit. Mariano has toured all over the southeast and visited over 1,000 schools to read the book to children. Our PreK, Kindergarten, and First Grade students were entranced with the story of Charlie, and they were full of questions and stories afterward, ranging from asking if there were elephants in Happy Land to saying that they saw penguins at Sea World once.
As for Charlie? He will be visiting his author’s home state of Massachusetts in Mariano’s next writing venture.
“What I’d like the young children to take away from my visits is to not lose sight of believing in themselves, and always follow through,” Mariano said.