Photo by Cami Barclay

After a 40-year career spent counseling adults, Lake Highlands resident Anne Worth made a life shift, jolted in part by a pandemic.

At 80, she’s already published two children’s books since the pandemic, and she has a third on the way. After retiring from counseling and moving to the community at the Landon, she has been writing consistently.

“Every morning, at 4 a.m., I woke up to sit in front of my computer,” she says.

Her book series, Tessie’s Tears, follows a young girl, Tessie, as she experiences and learns about death, grief and other forms of loss. The first two installments in the series are Grampy Goes to Heaven and Molly Moves Away.

Worth’s foray into children’s books was the result of faith, sympathizing with children who had lost loved ones to COVID-19 and some of her own life events.

“During the pandemic, every child in the world, not just in the United States, was exposed to death. If it wasn’t somebody in their family, it was somebody in their neighborhood or one of their friends or whatever,” Worth says. “I wanted children to know that when someone who knows the Lord dies, they go to Heaven; they have a new healthy body.”

Each of the books has references to the Bible and addresses grief and loss from a religious perspective. A couple in the Philippines illustrated the book for her. They held their meetings on character design over Zoom.

“I sent him a picture of me as a young girl and the other little girls would be based on my girls,” she says. “So, we sketched a couple of different classes and he sketched it right in front of me.”

Since publishing the first two books, she has donated books to schools and churches.

Though she has no biological children, Worth claims many as her own, including Sudanese girls she’s met since working with the Lost Girls of Sudan and a Russian son (she met him during a mission trip when he was in an orphanage). They all call her “Mama Anne.”

This isn’t her first time to write a book, she says. She has co-authored six works with other authors and wrote a memoir in 2019 titled Call Me Worthy, on which she spent nine agonizing months, she says.

In the memoir, she addresses difficulties regarding divorce, abortion, alcohol and her family.

“That’s one reason I think I was such a good therapist, because I have been through all that stuff myself.”

The third book in the Tessie’s Tears series, Corkie the Rescue Puppy is about Tessie losing her puppy. It will be released Nov. 19.