Children’s Book Aims To Provide Positive Messages

Children’s Book Aims To Provide Positive Messages

BERLIN – A Maryland author is using her love of the Chesapeake Bay and Eastern Shore region to promote kindness, bravery and conservation in her new children’s book.


Karen Cody

Earlier this year, author Karen Cody published her debut children’s book, “Bella the Blue Crab.”

Written under the pen name A.G. Vlahos – in honor of her daughter Anna Grace – Cody shares the importance of kindness and good deeds through the story of a little blue crab.

A synopsis for the book reads, “Bella the Blue Crab is a wonderful story of a brave little She-crab who helps save the Chesapeake Bay.  Bella is a positive role model who enjoys helping her fellow sea creatures with acts of kindness and bravery. Bella’s story comes alive through the beautifully animated pictures of the Chesapeake Bay, where the blue crab is celebrated and enjoyed.”

Cody, a Kensington, Md., resident, said her 4-year-old daughter inspired her to write her first children’s book.

“The inspiration for the book was actually my daughter Anna Grace …,” she said. “She’s a ferocious reader, and we read four or five books to her every night. I thought, ‘This is something we could do.’”

Cody said her full-time job is in law enforcement. But last year, she used her free time to write “Bella the Blue Crab,” a 35-page book that teaches children about kindness, bravery and environmental awareness.

“The character Bella is really my daughter’s persona,” she said. “Bella is a kind little crab that helps others and goes about helping her fellow sea creatures. She’s got the adventurous spirit.”

As a Maryland native, Cody also uses “Bella the Blue Crab” to showcase the tastes and sights of the Chesapeake Bay and the Eastern Shore region, where she spent countless summers as a child. For example, the book features McCormick Old Bay Seasoning, the U.S. Naval Academy and local landmarks such as Fisher’s Popcorn and the Ocean City beaches.

Cody said she also incorporated her fondness for Ocean City into the book. She noted her love of the resort began at an early age, when her father would bring the family to the beach.

“It’s a tribute of what we love when we go to the beach,” she said. “We have a second home in Ocean City. We are honorary residents and spend as much time as we can there.”

In addition to writing “Bella the Blue Crab,” Cody said she worked alongside Patrick Carlson, who provided illustrations for each page.

“He just blew it out of the park, and I couldn’t be more pleased,” she said. “He was able to take my vision, and it was beyond what I could have imagined.”

“Bella the Blue Crab” was published on Valentine’s Day, before the COVID-19 pandemic. But Cody explained that hasn’t stopped her from sharing her book with others.

In addition to interviews on radio and social media platforms, Cody also presented readings of her book to children through the National Institutes of Health and the National Children’s Hospital, which was shared through a storytime video featuring the author and her daughter.

“It was rewarding to give back to the community,” she said. “I was so pleased and honored that it got so much positive attention.”

“Bella the Blue Crab” is now available for purchase on Amazon. Cody said she is also working with local venues to have “Bella the Blue Crab” featured for book signings and readings.

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About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.