Monica Rasco’s days as a children’s librarian in Wimberley’s city library were filled with reading books to kids during story times. In her 12 years there, she read plenty of books in the spirit of "Goodnight Moon."
The thought came to her: "We need a ’Goodnight Wimberley’ book," she says. "I thought about that for years in the back of my head."
She had even written the first line: "In a great green valley, where a creek meets a river, there is a place called Wimberley."
When she retired four years ago, she says, she had no more excuses. "I’m just going to do it," she says.
Her granddaughter, Abby Adams, 15, who lives next door, wandered over about three years ago on a day when Rasco was struggling with the book and began helping.
It was only fitting. When Rasco was a librarian, she would bring home books to try out on Abby before reading them at story time.
They brainstormed all the places that you think of when you think of the small Texas town south of Austin.
"It was the places we love to go and have some memories of," Abby says.
It’s Blue Hole and Jacob’s Well, it’s the town square and Mount Baldy, the EmilyAnn Theatre and Gardens and the Leaning Pear restaurant, and it’s the Blanco River and Cypress Creek. It’s also the natural world like the deer and the fox and the fireflies.
They wanted to capture the spirit of the town. "I think it’s the people," Rasco says. "Maybe that’s why it feels so special: the warm, wonderful people."
"For sure," Abby says.
And it’s the people that have been through something, which is why they put the Wimberley Strong flag on an opening page, to mark the floods from five years ago that killed 14 people throughout Central Texas.
They sketched out the book and wrote the story and then tapped artist Bethsaida Jacobsen, who lives down the street, to do the illustrations.
"She caught the essence of Wimberley," Rasco says.
They have their favorite illustrations, but it’s hard to pick among the watercolor and fine-tip marker drawings in mostly blues and greens that reflect the Wimberley landscape.
They have their favorite lines, like, "Three little deer laying so near," because that’s what you think of when you think of Wimberley: deer everywhere. And "Goodnight Wimberley, the sun shines dimly," set with a sunset peeking above the hills.
They also love and get a chuckle over, "Goodnight Blanco River, And the water that makes me shiver."
"It’s a postcard, in a sense," Rasco says. "It’s a children’s book, but it’s also a postcard to small places."
They found a self-publishing company, and hope to recoup some of the money, but, Rasco says, "I didn’t do it for the money. ... I was doing it for Wimberley," where she’s lived since 1997. "This town has given me so much, and all the children of Wimberley have given me so much," she says.
The book is $14.95 and available at Wimberley shops Moon Goddess Books & Curiosities, Wimberley Stitch Studio, King Feed Wimberley, Kamaway Market and River House, or through the website store.bookbaby.com/book/Goodnight-Wimberley1, or the Facebook page for the book.
Jacobsen is selling the prints of the artwork on her website, bethsaidajake.wixsite.com/bethsaidajake.
During the pandemic, in addition to promoting their book, Rasco and Abby have been doing things like sewing and playing the board game Qwirkle.
"We’ve become best friends," Abby says. "I come over every day."
"Maybe we’ll write another book," Rasco says.