Teaching through tale

Local author answers tooth fairy questions
By Jessi Stone Guide editor | Dec 11, 2013
'Riley's Mission' was written by local attorney Karla Wood.

When local author Karla Wood was searching for a publisher for her first children’s book, the first website she saw read, “The world doesn’t need another tooth fairy story.”

“I thought that was the most ridiculous statement… if that’s true then we don’t need any more stories about love or war or anything,” she said.

Wood, a practicing lawyer in Waynesville, didn’t let that stop her from publishing “Riley’s Mission,” a story that answers children’s questions about the tooth fairy. Of course the most practical tooth question: Why should we bother when our teeth are going to fall out anyway?

Wood will be reading and signing copies of her book at 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14 at Blue Ridge Books in Waynesville.

Wood wants to provide incentive for children to care for their teeth in a fun fantastical way and this book does just that. She said caring for her teeth has always been very important to her and she wanted to pass that on to her two sons as well as other children.

“A bright clean smile is one of the most memorable physical attributes one can have,” she said. “I want kids to want to brush their teeth without anyone having to tell them to.”

The book incorporates how to brush your teeth and then tells a story of why children need to help the tooth fairy.

“The tooth fairy needs the teeth — there’s nothing they can’t use, but they need strong, healthy white teeth,” she said.

“Riley’s Mission” is without apology a how-to-brush-your-teeth book. Wood teases that she will put off going to the eye doctor until about blind, but if the slightest thing is amiss with her teeth she heads to the dentist right away.

While the book is fiction, the two main characters in the story are without a doubt based on Wood’s own children, Hunter and Zachary. She has always enjoyed writing and storytelling but her career has always made it hard for her to find time to put it down on paper.

But now she has decided to make time to write and already is working on a second story that is just pure mischief in which Zachary saves the day. Wood encourages all, the young, the old, and the restless to “hold fast to your imagination and make your dreams real.”

Originally from Vermont, Wood has lived in North Carolina for the last 20 years. In high school, she belonged to a story-telling troupe. As part of her community service in her Army Officer’s Basic Course, she organized a group and told/read stories to children who lived on post. For community service in law school, Karla read stories to her elders in a nursing home.

After receiving a degree in psychology, she decided to go back to school to earn a law degree at Appalachian School of Law in Virginia.

In part because of her background in child custody law, Wood feels like she has a duty to children to bring the story full circle. There must of course be some event or issue that might even be scary, but always, always the tale must resolve. At the end, there should be no dangling children.

“Riley’s Mission” can be purchased on www.dorrence.com or on www.amazon.com.