VCHS Alumni Author Presents Tommy’s Parade

TR Staff
Staff Writer

By TR Staff
Valley City High School graduate Kami Anez was born and raised here in the City of Bridges on a farm with beef cattle, horses, cats and dogs, and sheep. She loved to read every piece of literature she could get her hands on, particularly enjoying the Little House series, Dr. Seuss, and author Beverly Cleary’s work. Reading fanned the flame of her love for writing poetry, which she started doing in her teen years. After high school, she went on to NDSU where she attained a Doctor of Pharmacy and met her husband.
Following graduation, Anez and her husband relocated to Minnesota where they and their kids now have the same sort of ‘everything’ farm as did Anez did in her formative years. Her kids are in 4-H, just as she was, and they have horses, cats, dogs, pigs, and chickens. Amidst all that, Anez also now runs an agricultural engineering company with her young children still at home.
When she had children, Anez shifted her focus from writing poetry to children’s fiction. She became a published author when her book Tommy’s Parade came to print in November.
On Wednesday, Nov. 28, Anez returned to her home town to share her book, Tommy’s Parade, with the Valley City community. While she was here, she also visited the elementary schools to read to the children and talk with them. Since having children, Mrs. Anez “see[s] the world through their eyes,” and writes literature based on adventures that she and her children have had. This particular book that she was showcasing was published in Minnesota and illustrated by a fellow local Minnesotan. “Tommy’s Parade” is based on a memory that she has of her son riding a horse down a gravel road. When the farm’s furry animals see them, they follow down the road. “The dogs follow, and then the cats, and then the goats have to get in on it.” This adorable scene caused the genesis of a story idea.
In her writing, Mrs. Anez states that a lot of people have made this book a reality. The illustrations are based on pictures that she has of her children on the days she recalls in the book.
Her favorite story is this one: Her family has a cabin that they visit, where technology isn’t allowed, creating a wonderful, relaxing family vacation. At the cabin, a little boy wanders around the surrounding wilderness, asking critters where they go when it’s cold. Birds migrate, the little boy finds out, while squirrels snuggle down into a nest. When he comes back to the cabin, he asks his dad what they should do when it’s cold. Snuggle down, watch a movie, and drink hot chocolate, his father says.
Another favorite story of hers is about a bird that flies around the United States looking for the most beautiful place but, after he returns from his journey, comes to realize that the most beautiful place is the one he calls home.