Helena author publishes series of Christmas stories

By NATHAN HOWELL | Special to the Reporter

HELENA — Like many others this year, Helena local Martha Underwood spent some time in quarantine this year, which provided her with inspiration and motivation to write and publish a series of stories designed to help children with a variety of topical issues.

“The Elf Series” is the product of Underwood fulfilling her dream of authoring a children’s book, while also helping her son cope with the negative affects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The book tackles issues relevant to the cultural landscape for children such as emotions, self-esteem and diversity.

According to Underwood, the stories touch on these topics in the four different versions of the book by relating to a different race and gender. The books are similar but differ slightly as they tackle these issues by relating the experience of a Black boy and girl and a white boy and girl.

The desire to write the book was born out of Underwood’s relationship with her son. She saw how the worry and anxiety from the pandemic was affecting him, especially relating to the holidays, and wanted to do something that would add Christmas cheer and reassure him.

“My youngest son was concerned that Christmas would be canceled because of COVID. I assured him that it wouldn’t be, and to help calm his concerns, we began drawing and writing stories around Christmas,” she said.

The books are inspired by real life interactions Underwood had with her son, and helps teach lessons to children on how to better communicate with their parents through the help of elves.

“Because I’m always trying to weave life lessons into our activities and bonding time, we wrote the Elf series stories to address managing emotions with Christmas as a background theme to make it fun and engaging,” Underwood said.

The four different versions of “The Elf Series” are available for purchase on most major online bookstores.