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Books For Kids

BE LIKE A TURTLE: New Children’s Book Encourages Slowing Down

stop and smell the roses – or watch the turtles, says E.C. author Karen Condit

Rebecca Mennecke |

SPREADING JOY WITH EVERY WORD. Katie Condit reads her new book, Turtle on the Track, with her three grandchildren. (Submitted photo)
SPREADING JOY WITH EVERY WORD. Karen Condit reads her new book, Turtle on the Track, with her three grandchildren. (Submitted photo)

“A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.” So wrote author C.S. Lewis – and it’s a sentiment that Eau Claire author Karen Condit shares. 

The former special education teacher – who taught primarily in the La Crosse school district for 25 years – knows the power of stories, because she uses stories to connect with her students and to help them learn and grow. 

Reading was the key into unlocking – for them – learning, relationships with other, joy. I saw it help kids bloom. ... In some respects, children got me into the world of books.

KAren Condit

children's book author and former teacher

“I’m not one of these writers that grew up loving to write and loving to read,” she admitted. “I grew up having opportunities, and I loved children. So when I went into education, I went into special education because I had a wonderful opportunity before college to work with children with special needs … and that’s where my love grew for helping those that struggle. Reading was the key into unlocking – for them – learning, relationships with others, joy. I saw it help kids bloom. … In some respects, children got me into the world of books.” 

The UW-Eau Claire grad has always dabbled in writing – and has been an avid storyteller both in and out of the classroom – but it wasn’t until she retired that she had the time to sit down and write. 

As she was walking along her family’s countryside property, she came across a snapping turtle trying to cross the dirt road. She knew well enough to not interfere, as snapping turtles can get fierce if they feel threatened. So she watched. “It was slow,” she recalled. “It stopped me. I got to a place where, oh man. I need to slow down my life. I’m an Energizer Bunny, and I was in retirement. And being in education and teaching, you’re constantly going. Everything’s new all the time. I was like, I need to take a lesson from this turtle.” 

That’s where she got the idea for her book, Turtle on the Track, which officially hits bookstands on Feb. 2, courtesy of Orange Hat Publishing

“Through my teaching, I saw the power of books and story in the lives of kids and families,” she said. “It would open up conversations and build that relationship. … I saw families heal through stories. … It gave them a safe space to say what was on their mind.” 

And likewise, with her debut picture book, Condit hopes to encourage families to slow down and listen to one another – to be like the turtles. 


Pre-orders for Condit’s book Turtle on the Track are open through Jan. 15. The book will be available on Feb. 2 at orangehatpublishing.com, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble.