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Kelly Kehret Johnson returns to hometown to read her first published work

  • Kelly Kehret Johnson, a 2000 Charles City High School grad, signs books of her first published work at the Charles City Public Library on Tuesday. Press photo by Kelly Terpstra

  • Kelly Kehret Johnson, a 2000 Charles City High School grad, signs one of her books for one of her former teachers, Micki Bartelt, at the Charles City Public Library on Tuesday. Press photo by Kelly Terpstra

  • Kelly Kehret Johnson reads her book "Building Bubbles, Fun, Fun, Fun!" at the Charles City Public Library on Tuesday. Press photo by Kelly Terpstra

  • Kelly Kehret Johnson reads her book "Building Bubbles, Fun, Fun, Fun!" at the Charles City Public Library on Tuesday. Press photo by Kelly Terpstra

By Kelly Terpstra, kterpstra@charlescitypress.com

Kelly Kehret Johnson’s presentation of her first published book back in her hometown was an emotional moment for the Charles City High School grad.

It was also a reunion of sorts.

Johnson, a sixth-grade art teacher in the Southeast Polk School District, made an appearance at the Charles City Public Library on Tuesday evening to read her first published work — a children’s picture book titled “Building Bubbles, Fun, Fun, Fun!”

She signed copies of the book and read aloud to kids that were circled around her during Tuck-in Tuesday at the library.

It wasn’t long after signing her first book that she was able to hug an old friend and past mentor.

“I walked in here and the first person I saw was my middle school art teacher, which was really special, because I’m a middle school art teacher,” said Johnson.

One of Johnson’s former teachers, Micki Bartelt, was able to stop by and say hello. As was Charles City’s longtime elementary school librarian, Colette Schmidtke, who retired in 2005 after 35 years as librarian in Charles CIty.

“Now I’m remembering as a little girl just being so mesmerized by the books that she was reading to me and just thinking how much I love books. She instilled that love of books for me,” said Johnson.

Johnson’s book follows an innovative little boy as he challenges himself to see objects in a place other than the clouds in the sky. The paperback also educates youth on the meaning of words with vocabulary definitions dispersed throughout.

Johnson also has two other children’s books written, but each are awaiting art and illustrations. She said her next book may be published in about a year or two.

“If I make more books, I would gladly come back,” said Johnson.

Johnson also held a meet-and-greet at the Rockford Public Library Tuesday afternoon to introduce people to her book.

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