Ashville Author Carlson Publishes Second Children’s Book

Mary Carlson, right, is pictured with her daughter, Casey Carlson, and Casey’s pug, Izzie. Mary recently published her second children’s book, “Princess Casey,” in which the protagonist, who is loosely based on her daughter, seeks the source of her true happiness. Submitted photo

An Ashville author’s sophomoric effort in the way of published works aims to boost the confidence and self-esteem of young readers.

Mary Carlson’s second children’s book, “Princess Casey,” was published in October by Archway Publishing, and chronicles a young girl’s journey toward finding the source of her true happiness in the form of a rhyming picture book.

“‘Princess Casey’ is kind of a whimsical type story that starts out with a character called ‘The Wizard,’ who comes to Casey in a dream. But it’s really about Casey’s search for true happiness and finding out what she needs,” Carlson said. “She goes to all of these different castles trying to find her happiness there, but ultimately finds it within herself and those she surrounds herself with.”

Carlson said her inspiration for the story came about through her observations of society’s fixation with self-image and the many insecurities that children — especially young girls — develop as a result.

“I tried to pull from those concepts, and I feel like the book is geared more toward children in late elementary and middle school,” she said. “So many kids these days seem to share those feelings of self-inadequacy, and so the purpose of this story is to try to build up that self-image and help them to realize that we’re all OK.”

While not a direct sequel to her first work, “Cousins,” which was published in 1995, the two stories share some similarities — which are primarily indicated through the illustrations of Western New York artist Wes Bossman. For example, Carlson said there is a scene in “Princess Casey” in which a girl is pictured reading “Cousins” to a group of younger children.

Additionally, “Cousins” was developed from a story that Carlson used to tell her children when they were young, and her children subsequently would become the characters in the book. She continued this trend with “Princess Casey,” in which the protagonist was based on her own daughter, Casey Carlson, who currently works as a counselor in Little Valley.

“Princess Casey” may be purchased at Off the Beaten Path bookstore, 28 Chautauqua Ave. in Lakewood, or online at, and

Carlson’s writing is frequently drawn from her own personal experiences. She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education from the State University of New York at Fredonia. She enjoys writing children’s book and parenting articles. She has taught at the elementary, high school and college levels. She lives with her husband and is the mother of three grown children, and considers her present role of grandma at the top of her priority list.