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Mary Lou Carney (1949–) Biography - Personal, Career, Writings, Sidelights

story grape angel welch

Born 1949; Education: Olivet Nazarene University, B.A.; Valparaiso University, M.A.

Career

Author of inspirational and devotional works and editor. Guideposts for Kids, editor; public speaker.

Writings

RELIGIOUS AND INSPIRATIONAL WRITINGS FOR YOUNG PEOPLE, EXCEPT AS NOTED

There's an Angel in My Locker: Devotionals for Junior Highers, Zondervan Books (Grand Rapids, MI), 1986, 2nd edition published as Angel in My Locker: Devotions for Junior Highers, 1992.

Angel in My Backpack, Zondervan Books (Grand Rapids, MI), 1987, 2nd edition published as Angel in My Backpack: Summer Camp Devotions for Junior Highers, 1992.

Angel in My Attic: Devotions for Junior High Girls, Zondervan Books (Grand Rapids, MI), 1988.

Bible Knock Knocks and Other Fun Stuff, illustrated by Charlie Cox, Abingdon Books (Nashville, TN), 1988.

Jump Right In, illustrated by Stephen DeStefano, Guide-posts Publishers (Carmel, NY), 1989.

Make a Wish, F.H. Revell (Tarrytown, NY), 1991.

Dear Wally, I've Got This Problem, illustrated by Susan Scruggs and Charles Cox, F.H. Revell (Tarrytown, NY), 1991.

Too Tough to Hurt, Zondervan Books (Grand Rapids, MI), 1991, revised edition published as Wrestling with an Angel: A Devotional Novel for Junior Highers, 1993.

How Do You Hug an Angel?: A Devotional Novel for Junior Highers, Zondervan Books (Grand Rapids, MI), 1993.

(Editor) Absolutely Angels: Poems for Children and Other Believers, illustrated by Viqui Maggio, Wordsong/Boyds Mills Press (Honesdale, PA), 1998.

The Power of Positive Thinking for Teens (based on The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale), Ideals Publications (Nashville, TN), 2002.

Tyler Timothy Bradford and the Birthday Surprise (picture book), illustrated by Shari Warren, Gingham Dog Press (Columbus, OH), 2005.

Dr. Welch and the Great Grape Story (picture book), illustrated by Sherry Meidel, Boyds Mills Press (Honesdale, PA), 2005.

FOR ADULTS

Bubble Gum and Chalk Dust: Prayers and Poems for Teachers, Abingdon Press (Nashville, TN), 1982.

A Month of Mondays: Prayers and Poems for the Monday Morning Homemaker Blues, Abingdon Press (Nashville, TN), 1984.

Heart Cries: Prayers of Biblical Women, Abingdon Press (Nashville (TN), 1986.

Spiritual Harvest: Reflections on the Fruit of the Spirit, Abingdon Press (Nashville, TN), 1987.

Sidelights

Mary Lou Carney is the writer of numerous devotional books for children, including Angel in My Locker: Devotions for Junior Highers, Angel in My Backpack: Summer Camp Devotions for Junior Highers, and Angel in My Attic: Devotions for Junior High Girls, in addition to inspirational works such as Wrestling with an Angel: A Devotional Novel for Junior Highers. With the 1998 title Absolutely Angels: Poems for Children and Other Believers, she edited works on the theme of angels as protectors from amateurs as well as writers such as Emily Dickinson. Writing for School Library Journal, Peg Solonika called the anthology an "uneven hodgepodge of angel-themed poetry" but also felt that the "simple structures filled with optimism and a sincere belief in angels" might appeal to some children. For Susan Dove Lempke, reviewing the same collection in Booklist, the "poetry is pleasant if not transcendent" and is paired with "charming, whimsical" illustrations.

Carney turned to less devotional topics with her picture book Tyler Timothy Bradford and the Birthday Surprise. Here the eponymous protagonist remembers too late that it is his teacher's thirtieth birthday, and each child was supposed to bring a collection of thirty items to share with the teacher. As he frets and walks toward school, he nibbles on a chocolate cupcake, crumbs of which fall to the sidewalk and attract a troop of ants. The ants continue to follow the young boy to school, thirty of them taking up residence in an ant farm at the back of the class right on cue for him to present to his teacher. While Linda Staskus, reviewing the title in School Library Journal, allowed that the book might be employed as a "supplement [to] a unit on number sets," she also complained of the "contrived" and "incredible" ending to the tale.

With the picture book Dr. Welch and the Great Grape Story, Carney relates the story of how, in 1869, Dr. Thomas Bramwell Welch, a small-town New Jersey dentist, invented the nonfermented grape juice product that is still known by his name. In Carney's version, Welch was inspired by a desire to make a nonalcoholic alternative to communion wine. Hope Morrison, writing in Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, noted that the book is short on the science of how Welch managed to avoid fermentation of his grapes, but concluded that there is "something inspiring about the age-old story of the common man rising in his ranks." Voicing the same objections regarding the lack of science in the book, a critic for Kirkus Reviews nonetheless called Carney's book an "intriguing tale." Higher praise came from Vicki Arkoff, writing in MBR Bookwatch. Arkoff commended the "lively prose" in Carney's "remarkable true story of grape juice's journey from idea to invention," and Patricia Manning, writing in School Library Journal, called Dr. Welch and the Great Grape Story, a "story to be enjoyed while sipping cool grape juice."

Biographical and Critical Sources

PERIODICALS

Atlanta Journal-Constitution, December 19, 1998, Julie Bookman, review of Absolutely Angels: Poems for Children and Other Believers, p. E4.

Booklist, November 1, 1998, Susan Dove Lempke, review of Absolutely Angels, p. 496; May 1, 2005, Jennifer Locke, review of Dr. Welch and the Great Grape Story, p. 1588.

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, June, 2005, Hope Morrison, review of Dr. Welch and the Great Grape Story, p. 431.

Children's Bookwatch, June, 2005, review of Dr. Welch and the Great Grape Story.

Kirkus Reviews, March 1, 2005, review of Dr. Welch and the Great Grape Story, p. 284.

MBR Bookwatch, March, 2005, Vicki Arkoff, review of Dr. Welch and the Great Grape Story.

School Library Journal, November, 1998, Peg Solonika, review of Absolutely Angels, p. 103; November, 2004, Linda Staskus, review of Tyler Timothy Bradford and the Birthday Surprise, p. 92; July, 2005, Patricia Manning, review of Dr. Welch and the Great Grape Story, p. 86.

ONLINE

Directory of Indiana Children's Authors and Illustrators Web site, http://www.statelib.lib.in.us/ (September 12, 2005), "Carney, Mary Lou."

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over 5 years ago

Wow! Pretty impressive, girl. And I remember when you cautiously handed me your first manuscripts to 'edit', termed loosely by today's standards! ha! I have tried to get in touch with you a couple of times on our Indiana visits without success....Now that I found you I will share something. After my stroke four years ago, struggling to regain anything remotely resembling my 'old' self, I gathered all my old outlines from speaking engagements through the years, embarking on the biggest challenge of my life. I enrolled in USF's Life writing classes for one year and now I have published a book. 'A Thread Runs Through; A Memoir Of A Mended Life.' Topping each chapter is my original artwork in stitches giving a glimpse into the chapter. I would love to hear from you sometime...A mended Judi

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