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Wyandanch educator releases first book

It was an exciting event at the Barnes & Nobel in East Northport as Martin L. King Jr. Elementary School Principal Dr. Monique Habersham joyfully signed her first published book, “Mona’s Mother,” for students and their families.

“From the moment it was published in April 2023, I am amazed at seeing it on venues such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble,” Dr. Habersham said. “The outpouring of interest ‘Mona’s Mother’ has generated in such a short time is overwhelming. This little book has opened doors I never imagined walking through.”

“Mona's Mother” is the author's autobiographical story depicting the journey of how she “Mona”, her three brothers, sister, and father found unforeseeable hope as they faced death, supported each other, embraced the future, found peace and reconnected with the past, only to realize a mother's love and legacy lives inside the ones left behind. “Mona's Mother” takes the reader on a realistic journey where each characters' lingering grief is not overshadowed with sadness, but perseverance, love and care.

This inspiring story will help encourage families with young children facing a devastating loss to look within for strength and to the future for joy, Habersham explained. Families experiencing challenging situations need to know happy endings are always possible, “Mona's Mother” is that reminder.

Dr. Habersham, who has served as principal of Martin L. King, Jr. Elementary School in the Wyandanch School District for six years, was inspired to write her autobiographical story by her young scholars. During the pandemic, Dr. Habersham realized her scholars encountered death continuously, whether it was someone in their immediate family or a distant relative. They were not able to mourn or grieve in a traditional way, so upon returning to in-person schooling their sadness was released and expressed intensely. Although there is no one way or appropriate way to mourn, Dr. Habersham believed children should know however their grief is expressed, it is okay and over time, with support, healing can take place. Having been a child who encountered the death of a significant family member at an early age, Dr. Habersham wanted to encourage children like herself with hope and assurance of a brighter day. So, sharing the journey of how she and her family supported each other after the impact of losing her mother, at the age of 9, was her way of doing that.                                                                 

She shared “Mona’s Mother” with friend, literacy coach and author JoEllen McCarthy who hosts Nerd Camp, and she was invited to participate with several esteemed authors in an Author Event for kid lit enthusiasts at Barnes & Noble in East Northport. To add to the excitement, Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary School was awarded a Grief-Sensitive School Initiative Program Grant from New York Life.