Village resident publishes children’s book about kindness

11 Mar

Village of Webster resident Claudia Uschold has published a new children’s book that touches on a familiar problem: how hard it is to make friends at a new school.

William Was Worried!, published in November by RoseDog Books, tells the story of young William, who’s just moved to a new, larger school. Although he tries his best to make new friends, nothing seems to work. He becomes increasingly sad, anxious and … well, worried. Then a kind teacher and a fellow student noticed his struggles and stepped in to make William feel included.

“The book is really about kindness,” Claudia said. “Philippians 2:4 says to look out for the interests of others. I wanted to write something that brought that concept to the level that kids can understand. What you can do to help another student.”

Claudia drew the idea for the book directly from her 30-year career as a State Rd. Elementary School speech pathologist.

“Being with kids, you watch their behavior and you see how they interact with one another,” she said. “Working with new students that come to the school, you see how difficult it is to make a friend and feel valued and a part of everything.” 

The journey from original idea to publication was a long one, in part due to the care that her illustrator, Marissa Birke, took to create the book’s beautiful artwork.

Village residents may recognize that name as well. Marissa was the proprietor of The Pickled Paintbrush, an art-themed shop which for almost two years occupied the storefront at 36 East Main St. in the village before losing its battle with the pandemic.

Claudia actually first met Marissa at The Pickled Paintbrush. A few years ago, when she and a friend were taking a watercolor class there, Claudia chatted with Marissa about her story and asked if she’d consider illustrating it.

“She agreed,” Claudia remembered. “I was thrilled. From what I could see she certainly seemed like a gifted artist.”

Claudia’s not sure how many books she’s sold so far, but she’s OK with that. “I’m not going to make a lot of money,” she said, adding, “Even if one child reads it and enjoys it, I’m happy.”

William Was Worried! is available at and

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