Traverse City Record-Eagle

December 4, 2010

Local women write, illustrate children's book


TRAVERSE CITY — A new book, illustrated and written by two local women, shares the significance of the rosary with children.

Deanna Dorr Siler, of Leelanau County, wrote "It's a Mystery," which contains colorful illustrations by Pauline Viall, of Traverse City.

"God knew who to put together," Siler said of the writing and illustrating duo.

Siler taught in Catholic schools for many years and was a school principal. She's studied religion, curriculum and instructional design. A couple years ago, a local religious education teacher asked Siler for assistance teaching the rosary to students. Siler developed a lesson, and "it was a really big hit."

Many of the children's parents didn't fully understand the rosary, in part because it has not been emphasized as much since Vatican II, Siler said. She began to develop her lesson into a book, which she said is perfect for families to read together.

"Now, we see a resurgence of the rosary," Siler said.

The book, and the rosary, explains Jesus Christ's life through four areas: Joyful, sorrowful, luminous and glorious mysteries. Among the joyful mysteries is the Nativity, when Mary and Joseph travel to Bethlehem and Jesus is born to the virgin. The accompanying illustration by Viall shows Joseph holding the baby Jesus with Mary, clothed in red and blue, looking on with a sweet smile.

Viall illustrated two other children's books and wanted to take a more "fine art" approach to this book. She had neighbors model for her, and her husband also posed for the acrylic paintings of Jesus. Local members of the Knights of Columbus posed for a photograph that became the basis for her painting of the disciples and Jesus at the Passover feast.

"To me, there's like a little miracle in each of those pictures," Viall said.

The rosary is significant to both women. Siler carried a rosary made of roses at her wedding. It's preserved in a box and mounted on a wall in her home.

"The rosary has really been a special prayer to me," Siler said.

"It's a wonderful way to center yourself through prayer. I really enjoy it. It's New Testament from start to finish," Viall added.

The book will be available through the print-on-demand services of XLibris Corp. in paperback and hardcover editions. An author signing is scheduled from 2-5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 5 at Horizon Books in Traverse City, pending shipment of books, Siler said.

For more information or to order the book, visit Siler's website at