Guest post by MaryAnn Diorio:
“A children’s book on Eminent Domain? How interesting!”
Surprise at the topic of my latest children’s book, The Dandelion Patch, has been the most frequent reaction among readers. I attribute this surprise to the fact that, to my knowledge, no other children’s book has been written on this controversial topic. Hence, my treatment of it makes The Dandelion Patch a book which you may wish to share with the special children in your life.
How did you decide to write about Eminent Domain?
This question has also been a frequent one among readers. And understandably so. After all, Eminent Domain is not usually a topic of discussion around an adult dinner table let alone one that boasts the precious presence of little ones.
The answer to this question goes back to the 1950s when I was nine years old. My family had recently moved from Pennsylvania to New Jersey where my parents had purchased a home. A few months after settling in, we received a notice that the State had decided to build a major highway through our area and, quite likely, right through our house!
To say that I was worried and upset would be an understatement! What would become of our house? What would become of our family? And, most of all, what right did the State have to steal our property?
This last question troubled me the most. After all, we could find another house. My family would remain together. But stealing our property? I would not stand for that!
So, I began to pray. With childlike faith, I asked God to keep the State from stealing our house.
God answered my prayer. As it turned out, the highway was built about a quarter of a mile from our house. Far enough away to protect us, but close enough to serve as a constant reminder of the frightful reality that the government could seize one’s property.
Years later, when I started writing books for children, my experience with Eminent Domain surfaced again. From that experience emerged the feisty character of Yolanda Riggins, the proud owner of a dandelion patch that provides nourishing goodies for the children in her neighborhood.