New children’s book from Reporter columnist

Therese Palmiotto began writing the “Home on the Island” column for the Reporter last year, about experiences she and her husband James have enjoyed here with their son Dominick and daughter Abigail.

She also published a children’s book about the Island last summer, capturing many wonderful experiences here, from getting up close with ospreys, turtles, deer and other wildlife, to the fun of living on the water — swimming, fishing, sailing or just splashing. It’s called: “Exploring Shelter Island — a Book for Curious Young Visitors.”

The story is told in verse, with colorful illustrations by Samuel Palmiotto, her father-in-law. It was an immediate hit, selling out at their signing sessions at the Shelter Island Historical Society and elsewhere.

Now, they’ve published another book, “Creating Memories at Woodloch,” similarly introducing the reader to a place many families enjoy for getting close to nature and making memories together. We asked Therese to give us a peek behind the creative process.

SCD: The new book is about another special place for your family — just as the first one was about the Island. Can you tell a bit about Woodloch and family visits there?

TP: Woodloch is a Pocono Mountain all-inclusive resort that has been in operation since 1958, welcoming over 100,000 visitors per year. They are consistently voted the “#1 Best Resort For Families” (USA Today), “Best Hotel For Families” by Tripadvisor and “One of America’s Best Family Resorts (Better Homes & Gardens). As a long-returning guest who has been visiting for nearly 30 years, I wanted to capture those special memories and unique traditions, whether you’re visiting for the first time or want to reminisce about a vacation 20 years ago.

SCD: For both books, you’ve collaborated with your father-in-law Samuel. How does the process work — drawings first, text or simultaneously?

TP: I’m lucky to have an illustrator in the family. The process starts with my vision and text. I’ll typically give him very little direction in terms of the artwork because I find it fascinating to see how he interprets the narration, and then we take it from there. We appreciate each other’s creativity and collaborate to amend, add or delete along the way.

SCD: The books are primarily aimed at children — do you get your children’s input in the process?

TP: Yes. It’s important to ask and understand what children feel is memorable. For the Woodloch book in particular, I made sure to get the input from children of all ages. Since the goal was to capture that nostalgia, I was interested to listen to and include many perspectives — including for example, adults who visited as children and yearn for those happy childhood memories.

SCD: Any new projects on the horizon — in your busy work/home/creative life — as if you have time to spare?

TP: I joke that I think some of my best work is done while brushing my teeth! Once I have the vision for a project, the process for channeling an idea into words is easy. I’ve published two books within six months and both of them had been ideas on the backburner just waiting to come to fruition. In both books [Exploring Shelter Island and Creating Memories at Woodloch], I identified locations I knew well and was very fond of. I recognized that many other people shared that enthusiasm, so I was inspired by the chance to bring that love to a tangible representation in the form of a book. For 2023, I’ve received a promotion at work and will be taking on a different role within my organization. I’m certainly planning on dedicating my energy to learning and developing there, but I can’t really turn off the creative ideas once I’m inspired. I had given my very first doll the name of ‘Luggage,’ so I’ve been enthralled by travel from an extremely young age. I do have an idea for another project that could be next on the horizon.

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