Great-Grandma Writes First Book

Laura Lipari holds a copy of her first book, "Gramma Shares Her Faith," in her Shaker Heights, Ohio home Aug. 1, 2006. The 92-year-old great-grandmother has begun a writing career with the publication of a children's book that tells the story of Adam and Eve in question-and-answer style
AP Photo/Mark Duncan
Long a storyteller, Laura Lipari has started a writing career at age 92 with the publication of a children's book that tells the Adam and Eve story in question-and-answer style.

The 66-page book, "Gramma Shares Her Faith," is the size of a CD and is really Lipari's story, reprising her role as a schoolteacher and a mother telling stories to her five children, nine grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

"I'm not an author," Lipari said in an interview at the home she shares in this wealthy Cleveland suburb with her sister, Virginia Curro, 88. "I'm someone who writes from the heart."

The book, the first of a planned series retelling biblical stories, is a modest venture, published by Oak Manor Publishing Inc. of Manchester, N.H., a one-man publishing house that has a stable of five or six authors with about 12 books in print.

Lipari's book debuted in June and has sold several hundred copies, mostly to her children for reselling. Oak Manor's John Greene says that a few hundred copies are in print — he would not be specific — and he's trying to get the book listed on Internet sales sites such as Barnes and Noble. He hopes it will be stocked by religious bookstores.

Lipari, dressed in a black and white pants suit with pearl earnings and necklace, sat with one leg crossed over the other in front a spacious marble fireplace, detailing her journey of faith from a Catholic upbringing, a survey of other religious traditions and a return to her childhood faith with a determination to study the Bible at the urging of a fundamentalist Christian friend.

"God accepts all religions if it comes from the heart," said Lipari, who sidestepped the debate of whether the Bible is literally true or a story meant to teach moral values.

"Call it what you will," she said. "Do I believe some of the (evolution) things that Darwin taught? Yes."

Evolution or not, Lipari said the goal of her book, and years of storytelling, is teaching the role of God in the world. "I tried to tell them how God created the world," she said. "We have a living God who understands us better than we do."

Lipari's Gramma character opens the book by agreeing to granddaughter Desy's demand for a story. The book includes a discussion of the Bible writers ("the people who wrote the Bible were inspired by God"), the definition of a soul ("God's gift when he gives us life") and going to church ("God doesn't force us to go. He hopes we want to go").