September 2009 Issue
When Julie Rubini speaks of her daughter, Claire, who died suddenly from a heart condition in July 2000 at the age of 10, sadness frames her voice in a way that shows her pain will never go away. But when she describes all that has happened since then — most recently,Hidden Ohio, her first published book — her tone has a lightness that demonstrates her positive nature.
“I needed to do something with the energy that I had,” Rubini says. “Being forever the optimist, I knew that I had to do something good to honor [Claire} and remember her.”
And honor her she has, beginning with the annual Claire’s Day in Maumee, an event that began in 2002 and attracts authors and illustrators of children’s books from all over the country for a day of music, workshops and storytelling. The event successfully spreads Claire’s love of reading throughout the community.
It was during Claire’s Day in 2007 that Rubini met Anne Lewis, an author and publisher at Mackinac Island Press. Lewis had publishedHidden Michigan, a “hide-and-seek” children’s book designed as a fun educational tool.
Hidden Ohio follows a similar format, and separates the state into 15 regions, which are colorfully illustrated with Ohio-related items — such as buckeyes and ferries — hidden in the designs. Playful rhymes deliver both historical and fun facts about Ohio.
Rubini hopes to continue publishing books for children, mainly about grieving, and possibly a memoir. For now, though, she is focused on book signings and school visits.
Whatever she does next, it’s sure to be a success due to her positive outlook and strong support system.
“Outside of losing Claire, I have an incredible life,” she says. “I’ve got a great husband and kids and [we] are able to give back to our community. There are so many people in this world who don’t even have a portion of that, so count your blessings.”
For more information or to order a copy of
Hidden Ohio, visit mackinacislandpress.com.