Township woman aims to make a career of children’s books

Author Kaly Smith (aka Tiffaney Stoer) with her first children’s book, Fornax, the Friendly Toothbrush at the Playground!, at the Oxford Public Library. Photo by D. Rush

By Don Rush

For years Oxford Township resident Tiffaney Stoer was a nanny then a mommy, now she wants to be a full-time children’s book author.

We moved here from California about eight years ago, and this book has been in my brain ever since – maybe 10 years,” Stoer, 42, said. “Ten years ago I started to sit down and put it on paper. Things have changed, the main character started out as a boy, but then I thought there are not a lot of girl characters to inspire readers, since this is a book about change, challenges and diversity, why not start with a girl as a character?”

Her first book is called Fornax, the Friendly Toothbrush at the Playground! The 26 page book’s main characters are Mia and her toothbrush, Fornax. Here’s the plotline from “It is that time again and Mia knows just what to do. If anyone knows how much fun they have while brushing it is Mia. Join her on this fun adventure she has while brushing with Fornax her friendly toothbrush. Will Mia’s friends be able to play on a clean playground or will they slide over jelly beans or fall off a slippery fun pod? Will they use her dental floss as a Zipline? Or her braces as a rock wall? Read on to find out what happens as she brushes her teeth with her friendly toothbrush, Fornax.”

Fornax, the Friendly Toothbrush at the Playground! And a Lego “scene” from the book. Photo provided.

Stoer, who goes by the pen name of “Kaly Smith” on her book, hopes to make Mia’s adventures into a series of books.

I have like 50 of these books in my head, but I had to get this first one out. So, I thought the first one out should be this one, because I can promote it to area dentists.”

She said Mia’s adventure books are about “getting over something.”

Like the fear of getting on an escalator or going into an elevator, or brushing your teeth. Every day problems or fears. Something difficult in a child’s life, maybe like doing chores. In this first book I thought, who wants to brush their teeth? So, let’s find a fun way to do it. They will all be written in a way that any kid who is reading it can interrupt it like, ‘I have a dad at home. I have a mom at home. It’s written if you’re a child, sitting down reading one of the books, you will find yourself in one of the characters. That is how I am writing all the books. Every child who is reading the book, will find a part of themselves in the book.”

She said the response to her Fornax, the Friendly Toothbrush at the Playground! has been positive. As she is self-publishing to promote, she currently is giving it to dentists to read, and possibly purchase for their own patients.

Even dentists have liked the book. A lot of books about brushing your teeth are about scaring the kids to brush. Forcing them to brush. Telling them, ‘if you don’t brush you will get cavities.’ This is nothing like that. We’re going to do this the right way, front of the teeth, back of the teeth, tongue, floss and you’re done. There are no rules. It’s just ‘Let’s brush. Let’s do the fun parts. Let’s brush the monkey bars, let’s open wide.’ It’s so they can really enjoy what they’re doing.”

She said her years of being a nanny in Los Angeles, then becoming a mother to Enzo, 11 and Anna, 8 has given her lots of experience in relating with different children. “This is going to be my full-time job. I am giving myself three years. I am currently going to classrooms and reading Fornax, the Friendly Toothbrush at the Playground! And I bring Legos for the kids. They can build their own scene from the book with the Legos. It’s fun.”

Stoer has lived in Oxford Township with her family for about three years, she said. “I really like the quietness here, and the downtown. Downtown, with its music and there’s always stuff happening. We spend a lot of time at the library and the parks. We also like to ride the Polly Trail with our bikes,” she said.

As for Mia’s next adventure, Stoer said it will probably be about getting on an escalator, “I haven’t even given it a title yet.”

Her book is available on websites like Barnes and Noble and Amazon.



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