Effective masters of story and verse


Beverly Hills alive with talking oaks. Former politician and CEO John Reardon of the Beverley Hills section of Alexandria is getting attention of a very different kind these days. Reardons recently published childrens book The South Overlook Oaks was selected by the National Press Club for the 2006 Annual Authors Night and Book Fair and the title was recommended in the Book World section of the Washington Post. Inspired by the 70-year-old towering cedars and the 30-plus kids whose presence dominates the neighborly block of South Overlook Drive, Reardon conceived a plot which bestows human characteristics on the trees and wildlife to churn out a tale of friendship, cooperation and respectful engagement with nature. While his company was being sold, Reardon could be seen perched on his porch writing under the protective arms of the giant cedars what were then simple tales for his impressionable daughters. I would share the stories with them at bedtime and when I had enough stories, I decided to make them into a book. So basically I took my love of trees and storytelling and combined the two into this childrens book. It has been a lot of fun. Keeping the project entirely in-town, the books illustrator, Chris Youngbluth of Alexandria is a former art teacher at St. Marys and shows her work at the Old Town Farmers Market. Appropriately, the neighborhood-inspired book can be found at local businesses Kit and Caboodle, A Likely Story, and St. Elmos Coffee Shop. Contact Reardon at xreardon@earthlink.net to have your copy signed.

Good omen for Walter Reed. While much has been written about the shortcomings of Walter Reed Army Medical Center in D.C., Alexandria businessman and author Nader Elguindi is using his writing to help right the wrong. Exuding confidence and good faith, the loyal former Navy officer is donating 100% of the proceeds from his book My Decision to Live to the hospital and his injured military comrades.

A brainstorm over Ford. The Gerald R. Ford Memorial Committee wants to hear feedback from residents about ways for the City to permanently memorialize fellow-Alexandrian, the late President Ford. fordmemorial@alexandriava.gov.

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