MANSFIELD — Superintendent Teresa Murphy is pleased to announce that two Mansfield Public Schools educators recently wrote and illustrated the book “Joe and Buddy,” which is a story about a man and his horse taking a trip through one of Boston’s most historic neighborhoods, the North End.
Donna DiCarlo, a MPS kindergarten teacher in her 22nd year with the district, is the author of the book and Karen Connors, a paraprofessional in her 25th year with MPS, illustrated the book.
DiCarlo dedicated the book to her grandfather-in-law Joe DiCarlo. Donna would meet with Joe about once a month, where he would recount stories from his days in World War II and his experiences delivering milk throughout the North End with his horse, Buddy.
She had already made him a photo book relating to his time in WWII, and was planning on doing the same for his stories about Buddy, before he unfortunately passed away.
When Connors came to her with the illustrations, she decided to publish the stories in a full-fledged children’s book instead.
“I made a promise to Joe to ensure that his memories live on through his children, grandchildren and the family,” DiCarlo said. “Without the wonderful illustrations from Karen, I would not have published the book. Thanks to her, though, I can share Joe’s stories with the rest of the world.”
This is the second book that Connors, a graduate of the Massachusetts College of Art, has illustrated. Her first was titled “The Dancing Mantis” by Cassandra Manzer and was published a year ago. She loves to paint in watercolor from photographs she has taken from her travels.
“This was such an interesting project to work on,” Connors said. “I loved illustrating the historical sites of Boston’s North End, but mostly I enjoyed the heartwarming story of Joe and Buddy. Being able to do what I love with Donna, a colleague and a friend, made it all the better.”
The book is currently available in paperback for $9.99 on Amazon.com and has an average review of five stars out of five.