For perfectly published print for parents and their progeny, proceed to “Mr. Petito and the Punks,” a new book by first-time author Kalley Petito, first grade teacher at Saint Margaret Regional School in Woodbury Heights.
The work, put out by Christian Faith Publishing, uses rhyming and alliteration, with the letter P, to teach young readers about the importance of prayer, hard work, positivity, cooperation, physical fitness, and following the wisdom of parents and teachers.
Twenty-five years ago, Petito first had the idea of a schoolteacher and the three wayward students he guides, even writing out the story, but the busy wife and mother of three put the manuscript aside.
“When the school had an author come and visit the school last year, I was inspired to go into the garage, and get the story out of a filing cabinet,” she laughs.
Petito sent out the text to different publishers, and last June signed a contract with Christian Faith. After work on editing and illustration, the book was released last February and can now be found at such places as Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble.
A classroom teacher and gym teacher for the past 18 years at Saint Margaret’s, Petito has instilled in her students over the years the same values she stresses in her book.
Once a month, her class performs some type of service project, i.e. making cards for veterans, or bringing in canned goods for the hungry. Weekend homework assignments tell students to “go make a difference.”
An avid reader her whole life, Petito cites early influences such as the “Nancy Drew” stories and the “Bobbsey Twins.” Raising her own children, the written word was a constant at bedtime.
“We’d read a book, say a prayer, and turn out the light,” she says.
Now, she has a wider audience to continue sharing the lessons she began with her children and students. Readings at local schools have already taken place, and more are planned.
Such a propitious payoff for a proficient professor.