Karen St. Germain, Scarborough resident, is the author of “Pardon Me, I’m Perfect,” a children’s book. Courtesy photo Karen St. Germain

SCARBOROUGH — Karen St. Germain is passionate about nature, science and reading, all of these values now in the form of her first children’s book, that was published at the beginning of 2020.

St. Germain is the author of “Pardon Me, I’m Perfect,” a story that teaches children that outward appearances aren’t as important as what’s inside someone’s heart, she said. The book is published through Maine Authors Publishing & Cooperative and is illustrated by Veronica Rose Jones.

“This book is a journey of a polliwog who was large in size, large in stature, large in attitude, who goes on a personal discovery,” St. Germain said. “He learns it’s not always what’s on the outside that matters; it’s what we carry on the inside. We all come from different backgrounds, different families, different towns, and at the end of the story it concludes it’s important to look and listen with your heart and not just take everyone in at a first glance.”

“Pardon Me, I’m Perfect” began as a verbal story that St. Germain would tell her children while they were growing up, she said.

“It was just a way to learn how to interact with all different kinds of other children and to learn that appearance isn’t everything that’s going to speak to a person’s intentions and what’s in their heart,” she said. “I wanted my kids to understand that being strong, being physically of great stature, cultural differences, none of those things matter as much as what each person carries in their heart. Hopefully, my daughters learned young that appearance isn’t everything.”

The cover of “Pardon Me, I’m Perfect.” The book is available to purchase through the Maine Authors Publishing website. Courtesy photo

St. Germain is a retired wildlife rehabilitator and religious education director, she said. She and her husband moved to Scarborough four years ago, where they have set up a Little Free Library, a public bookcase, for neighborhood children.

With the library case, St. Germain, her husband, a former educator, and their neighbor, have created some nature program activities, stamps and ink and other craft materials.

“We’ve tried to do more than the ordinary, putting books in,” St. Germain said. “I know that some people have put food in their Little Free Libraries. What we thought was our basic need for our neighborhood was the need for young families trying to look for activities for their children.”

She recently placed a copy of her new book inside the Little Free Library, too, she said. The feedback has been positive, with readers able to write notes in a piece of paper she placed inside the cover.

Reading is beneficial for children, especially when there hasn’t been much else going on in the real world, she said.

“I think books, as I tell my grandchildren, can take you anywhere you want to go,” she said. “They can introduce you to all new things, new people, new characters, new animals. Where we’ve all been quarantined and isolated, this is a perfect opportunity for every child to go on that journey of reading, and every day and every book can take you to a different place. I used to tell my kids, ‘You’re never alone if you have a good book. You have a friend in a book.'”

Because of the pandemic, many of St. Germain’s author events were cancelled last year, she said. This has been a great disappointment, but she knows that many have had a rougher 2020.

“So many things have been cancelled,” St. Germain said. “The spring catalogue came out in April for Maine Author’s Publishing, and we had just begun with the shutdown of everything. I had planned to do a signing. I had a young authors class I was going to teach after school at Cape Elizabeth.”

People interested in ordering a copy of the book can go to maineauthorspublishing.com/pardon-me-im-perfect.

Maine Authors Publishing & Cooperative is located in Thomaston, one of the largest publishing businesses in Maine, said the company’s website.

“As a cooperative-style publisher, the company’s goal is to support local, independent authors throughout the publishing process with affordable services such as editing, design, printing, a trade catalog, distribution, and marketing assistance,” the website said.

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