Tilton First Grade Teacher Annemarie Guertin Releases First Book

Annemarie Guertin's book "How the Finch Got His Colors" features illustrations by London-based artist Helena Perez Garcia. (Courtesy photograph)

Annemarie Guertin’s book “How the Finch Got His Colors” features illustrations by London-based artist Helena Perez Garcia. (Courtesy photograph)

Not many authors can say they sold out copies of their book on Amazon, but for Haverhill teacher Annemarie Guertin, that dream has become a reality. The first grade teacher’s debut picture book, “How the Finch Got His Colors,” officially hits bookstores nationwide on March 6, weeks after Guertin sold out of inventory online.

Haverhill author and Tilton first grade teacher Annemarie Guertin. (Courtesy photograph)

As Guertin tells WHAV, she was inspired to publish her own book when she couldn’t come up with the right lesson plan for her students.

“I was doing a unit on folktales as part of the common core (curriculum) and discovered that there’s not a lot of folktales written in picture book form for the younger kids,” she said. “I came across an old book my aunt gave me from 1921—a little paragraph about a finch—and it had a moral to it. I took the characters from that and created an entire folktale out of it.”

Published by Familius, Guertin’s book is illustrated by London-based artist Helena Perez Garcia. It took the teacher just two months from the time she submitted the story—entirely on her own without an agent—to sign a deal.

As the author explains, her book resonated with those in the publishing world because it satisfied a need for classroom-friendly material. Guertin’s publisher felt her story’s theme of patience would especially resonate with young readers.

Here in Haverhill, Guertin says her built-in focus group of Tilton five- and six-year-olds have given it two thumbs up. The day she read the story to them was, in a word, “surreal.”

“The kids are out of their minds. I kept telling them ‘it’ll be here, it’ll take a while.’ The day it came… I read it to them and they were in awe,” Guertin remembered. “They were clapping. It’s been a crazy ride. I have two more (books) in submission, so I hope this isn’t just it for me.”

Guertin will celebrate her book’s release with a signing at Barnes and Noble on Saturday, March 24 from 12 to 3 p.m.