Story by: Maggie Roetker on August 30, 2018
Children’s hospitals around the country have received a special delivery of children’s books thanks to the vision of one Louisville family. The “Tell Me, Tell Me, What Do You See?” book series was a labor of love for Esther McNerney and her daughters Lauren Stinnett and Kristen Tincher.
After Esther’s sudden death in 2017, her family chose to package the existing stock of the book series and donate them to children. The idea to work with the Children’s Hospital Foundation to distribute the books to 120 children’s hospitals came out of Esther’s love of helping Norton Children’s Hospital.
“This was about mom’s legacy and having her love spread to children in a different, meaningful way,” Kristen said.
Esther was passionate about her children and family. A mother of four, she took that passion to the community once her own children were grown, volunteering at Norton Children’s Hospital. She was involved with the Children’s Hospital Auxiliary and the Festival of Trees & Lights, benefiting Norton Children’s Hospital, and Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA).
“My wife spent countless hours volunteering for children’s organizations,” said husband Rod McNerney. “She loved children so much.”
“Any project she did was child-oriented,” Kristen, a graphic designer, said. “But she also loved photography.”
“I had found an accordion-style brochure that one of my own children just couldn’t put down and did additional research into how that format can be used to promote reading,” Lauren, a preschool teacher, said. “What came next was a project we all could be involved in.”
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With Lauren’s concept, Esther’s photography and Kristen’s graphic design skills, the “Tell Me, Tell Me, What Do You See?” book series was born. Each book incorporates basic concepts with repetitive text for early reading concepts and sight words. Each has vivid photos and follows a theme: “At the Zoo,” “In the Garden,” “At the Construction Site” and “In the City.”
“These books showcase my mom’s talent as a photographer and perfectly illustrate these stories to help capture kids’ interest in reading,” said son Justin Schad.
The books won a gold “Mom’s Choice Award” and are printed in the U.S. using nontoxic materials.
“These books would not have come to fruition without her drive and ambition,” Kristen said.
“We want a good purpose for these books,” Lauren said. “We feel like mom is still present, and this allows us to spread a little of her love to children around the country.”