Extracurricular Activities Students

LMS Student Attends The Grannie Annie Book Celebration

Profile photo of Jackson DiBlasi with a book.

Jackson DiBlasi, who recently completed fifth grade at the Ladue Fifth Grade Center, was one of seventeen students honored at The Grannie Annie’s annual book signing celebration at the Missouri History Museum on Sunday, June 7.

Press release:

Ladue School District Student Honored at Book Signing Celebration

St. Louis, Mo., June 15, 2015—Jackson DiBlasi, who recently completed fifth grade at the Ladue Fifth Grade Center in the Ladue School District, was one of seventeen students honored at The Grannie Annie’s annual book signing celebration at the Missouri History Museum on Sunday, June 7. These seventeen students, along with twenty-nine others across the United States, had their stories and/or illustrations published in “Grannie Annie, Vol. 10: Historical Family Stories Written and Illustrated by Young People,” which was released in both paperback and PDF editions in May.

A 501(c)(3) nonprofit based in St. Louis, The Grannie Annie Family Story Celebration invites students in U.S. grades 4 through 8, and homeschooled and international students of comparable ages, to interview an older relative, write a story about something interesting they discovered from their family’s history, share their stories with their extended family and community, and submit their stories to The Grannie Annie for possible publication. Students are also invited to illustrate their stories. After stories for publication have been selected, additional illustrations are solicited through art teachers.

During the celebration, student authors read their stories and student artists discussed their illustrations. Eight of the people whose experiences were depicted in the stories were on hand, adding to the day’s festivities by their very presence. Among those special guests were a mother and grandmother who had escaped from Vietnam by boat in 1979, a dad who had accepted a dare to ride his dirt bike through his school in 1980, and a grandfather who has lived four decades longer than doctors predicted in 1973.

Jackson’s story “The Union Visit” tells how his feisty fifth-great-grandmother held her own against Union soldiers who visited her homestead in 1861. During the book signing celebration, Jackson, son of Amy DiBlasi of Ladue, read his story and thanked two audience members who had helped him with his research: his grandfather, James W. Vernon, Jr., of Chesterfield, who had helped him locate records that his mother, Cleo Vernon, had preserved; and his great-grandmother Maxine Dotson, of Lebanon, Missouri, who had helped him locate the graves of his fifth-great-grandparents, who had not been buried together.

“Seeing the young authors and artists receive such joyous support from their families as we all celebrate the family stories and illustrations together is a reminder of how rich The Grannie Annie experience is for all its participants,” said Connie McIntyre, founding Executive Director of The Grannie Annie.

Camila Isai del Cid, another student at the Ladue Fifth Grade Center, also had her story “The Land” published in “Grannie Annie, Vol. 10.”

Illustrations published in “Grannie Annie, Vol. 10,” will be exhibited at the Sachs Branch of the St. Louis County Library from June 16 through August 15, and at the Carpenter Branch of the St. Louis Public Library during September. Additional exhibits are being planned.

Currently celebrating its tenth anniversary, The Grannie Annie has published stories that have taken place on six continents over a span of nearly 400 years.  The stories vividly depict unique events, while reminding readers of the fundamental experiences common to all.

Financial assistance for The Grannie Annie has been provided by the Missouri Arts Council, a state agency, and by the Regional Arts Commission of St. Louis.

In honor of its tenth anniversary The Grannie Annie will soon publish a collection of World War II stories that have previously been published in its annual volumes. The stories show people on battlefields and homefronts around the world finding life-saving help in unexpected places and finding ways to live out their beliefs and celebrate their blessings amid the oppression of war.

Complete details about The Grannie Annie, and all of the published stories, can be found at www.TheGrannieAnnie.org. Books can be ordered from the website or purchased at Left Bank Books. Exhibit prints and poster prints can be purchased by contacting The Grannie Annie at orders@TheGrannieAnnie.org. Stories to be considered for publication in “Grannie Annie, Vol. 11,” must be submitted by February 1, 2016.