Sandy Brown claims she wasn’t good at reading and writing in her days as a student.
So when the Adams County native was transferred to Penn Manor School District’s Marticville Middle School in her second year as a teacher in the late 1970s, she was shocked and felt unprepared when asked to become a reading teacher.
“But I fell in love with the kids,” Brown said. “And I soon realized that was God’s gift for me to put me there.”
Brown spent the rest of her career as a middle school reading teacher, the final 22 of those at Manor Middle School, before she retired four years ago.
An illness forced her into retirement. And she coped with the illness by journaling.
The journal soon took the shape of a book. Brown landed a book deal with Christian Faith Publishing. By 2018, her name was on the cover of a book for the first time.
The book is called, “The Healing Light: A Super Nine Adventure.” It’s about nine kids who become superheroes, each blessed with a different super power: truth, wisdom, kindness, courage, helpfulness, compassion, faith, joy and love. Together, the kids attack cancer and glorify God.
Brown’s Christian faith and connections to cancer have a large influence on the book. She was 17 when her mom died of cancer. A younger brother later died of the disease. And one of her 10 grandchildren is a cancer survivor.
About half of the book’s 70 pages are made up of colorful illustrations, much the same way as many children’s books are. But Brown said “The Healing Light” is not just a children’s book.
“One chapter is for all ages. I’ve read it to a class of 3-year-olds and they loved it,” she said. “Another chapter a teenager could read and get it. ... It’s a family book.”
What it felt like to see your name on the front of a book for the first time: “Horrified. I was worried is it good enough? I gave it to friends and asked them to read it and asked them if there’s anything in there that will steer people in the wrong direction.”
Family: Married mother of three children, with 10 grandchildren and one great grandchild.
Education: Littlestown High School, 1976 graduate of Millersville University
Desert island book: The Bible.
Most memorable moment as a teacher: “I loved the excitement in a child’s eyes when they got it. When I’m teaching something and their eyes brighten and their face lights up and I know they understood.”