FAIRMONT - Lillian Peterson has a motto: Sharing the joy of reading - one child at a time. This strong belief in the joy and power of reading prompted her to start her own business almost 20 years ago.
"My son was 3. I bought him a children's book called 'The Big Parade,' and he loved it," she said. "The book featured his name, the names of his cousins, and his hometown."
Her son, Terone, constantly requested that she read him the book "about 12 times a day," and she complied.
Lillian Peterson has been selling personalized children’s books for almost 20 years.
"That book encouraged him to read," Peterson said.
She was so impressed by how the book motivated her son that she decided to share her discovery by selling personalized children's books through her business called A Blessing Comes.
Peterson is a newcomer to Fairmont, moving here from Carbondale, Ill., in February with her husband, Larry, a supply quality engineer at Agco in Jackson.
They visited the area in December, with initial plans to move to Jackson, but the felt the community was too small. They came to Fairmont, ate at a local restaurant, and spent time at the Fairmont Area Chamber of Commerce office, where the staff told them about Fairmont.
"They really sold us on Fairmont," Peterson said. "I feel at home, and everyone has just been wonderful."
She runs her business out of her home, but frequently sets up a table at various events. Today, weather permitting, she will have her business display at the Market Square event at Heritage Acres.
A Blessing Comes offers about 40 different books that are age-appropriate from birth to about 12 years. All the books feature full-color illustrations, wipe-off hard covers and a special sturdy binding.
But it's the story content that captures a child's interest.
"All of the books have the child's name, community, friends and family," Peterson said. "It's about people who love them.
"They all encourage reading. They all instill self-esteem. All of the books reference their hometown, which develops a sense of community."
The books offer a variety of topics, such as a child's birth, a birthday, the first day of school, sports, camping, fishing, life on the farm and even toilet training.
Each book takes about 15 minutes to make, so they're ideal for a last-minute gift or just to surprise a child.
Peterson mails books all over the country and is getting repeat business from a generation of people who had her books as youngsters and now are buying them for their own children.
Peterson recently gave Terone his copy of "The Big Parade" because he soon will be reading it again. He and his wife are expecting Peterson's first grandchild in July.
To view the books available, visit her website www.ablessingcomes.com
Books can be ordered by calling Peterson at (507) 235-6177 or by email at email@example.com
"In Fairmont, we do provide free delivery," Peterson said.