By Colin Foster
Writing has been a lifelong passion for Alma Burkhart.
Poems, an article for a magazine, an autobiography — the 84-year-old Troy resident has done a little bit of everything over the years.
On Oct. 26, Gypsy Publications held a release party at the Mayflower Arts Center for two of Burkhart’s children’s books — “Little Witnesses” and “If You Could See Her Smile” — a pair of books she had worked on for several years.
“I’ve always enjoyed writing,” she said. “I had some poems that I wrote when I was in high school. During the second World War, my two brothers were in the armed forces. I wrote poems for them. This has been a lifetime thing for me. I just really like doing it.”
Burkhart has always had a passion for religion, and both books reflect that ideology. Her husband of 58 years, James, was a pastor in Tipp City. She taught Sunday School for more than 40 years. The couple has a son, David, who also resides in the Troy area.
“Little Witnesses” features five stories full of understanding and faith. They are stories that share religious experiences during a child’s journey in life. Burkhart said the book was Bible-based fiction stories.
“If You Could See Her Smile,” a book with illustrations by Covington’s Sandra Burns, has a sweet message behind it. Burkhart dedicated the book to a pair of sisters in her church, Amanda and Elizabeth Baker. Amanda was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, while Elizabeth had to deal with bullies in school. Burkhart released the book with the intention of teaching pre-school aged kids that everyone should be loved and embraced.
“That’s why I wrote the story, just to help them through it,” she explained. “The point of the story and why the publisher wanted to get it to pre-schoolers is because all boys and girls need to know that handicapped people have values. They have feelings like we do.
“There are a lot of handicap people that work and there are many who serve in the armed forces that return home, who are badly burned and injured,” she continued.”I think people need to know that those people do have value — and it’s not nice for them to make fun.”
Burkhart has a list of accomplishments as a writer in many different platforms. She has had a pair of poems published by the National Library of Poetry.She also had a short article published in Reminisce Magazine and wrote an autobiography that was published in 1985 by Bowling Moorman Publications of Tipp City. She also had 12 of her own poems made into a calendar by a member of her church.
“I did that (autobiography) for my grandkids, and they’ve known about me ever since,” she said with a laugh.
Her books are available at Around About Books in Troy, Jay and Mary’s Book Center in Troy, Browse Awhile Books in Tipp City, and on Amazon.com and gypsypublications.com.