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Local woman hopes to teach children to love reading and the Lord through her first book


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Elaine Hardesty had a book signing last Saturday at The Open Door in Terre Haute. Here she is pictured (left) with one of her grandchildren, Brenley Snyder, at the event.

A Carlisle woman is now a published author after putting out her first children’s book.

Elaine Hardesty, 61, loves books and but did not plan to become an author.

“I never considered becoming an author myself, but I have always loved stories,” Hardesty said. “My earliest memories include spending hours reading.”

She loved books such as the Nancy Drew series, the Bobbsey Twins, Black Beauty, Call of the Wild and many more.

“I was an introvert living through the pages of amazing stories,” Hardesty said.

To share her love of stories with her grandchildren, she would tell them bedtime stories.

“Once a week, two of my grandchildren stay at my house for the evening, then I take them to school in the morning,” Hardesty said. “In hopes that they will come to love stories as I do, I always tell them a story at bedtime.”

Her stories have varied subjects for bedtime.

“It can be about anything, often they (her grandchildren) contribute to the storyline,” Hardesty said.

On Dec. 17 last year, her grandchildren were rather rambunctious and it inspired a new story.

“They were not willing to settle down,” she said. “It was one week until Christmas Eve and they were excited. They have an Elf on a Shelf and they did not care if he brought a bad report back to Santa that night.”

This inspired the story of a different type of elf – the Naughty Elf.

“That quickly stopped the bouncing and laughing,” Hardesty said. “The youngest child requested that I make sure all the doors were locked so that the naughty elf could not get in our house. The oldest one narrowed her eyes and said, ‘Is that true?’”

After this, they went to bed and Hardesty kept thinking about her bedtime story during the next day.

“That evening the nursing home called me to say my dad was unresponsive and was being taken to the hospital,” Hardesty said. “Dad passed away on Dec. 18, one week before Christmas.”

To take her mind off of things, she kept thinking about the naughty elf story.

On Dec. 22, the day after Hardesty laid her father to rest, she was having a hard time finding her Christmas spirit.

“The preparations and expectations of the next few days seemed like too much for me to handle,” she said. “Then I got to thinking about why we are having a Christmas celebration. It was not about the food or the presents. It was about the birth of our Savior, Jesus. I sat for the next two days and wrote the Naughty Elf.”

When the story was completed, Hardesty thought it was a story all children needed to hear.

“In hopes that it might convey the idea of Jesus to children who didn't know why we actually celebrated Christmas, I submitted the story to Covenant Books in January and they quickly agreed to publish it,” she said.

Hardesty said she has learned a lot about the process of publishing a book in the last year.

“Covenant Books has been very kind and patient with me during the experience,” Hardesty said.

For those looking for the book, look under the pen name of Hannah Grace Lee for the Naughty Elf. The name was inspired by her nickname of “nana” and her grandchildren.

“(The) Naughty Elf has been an adventure I will always be grateful for,” Hardesty said.

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