Career teacher Annette Vera Werle publishes debut book, ‘Augustus to the Rescue!’
Inspiration for writing often comes from many places — for some, it’s a recurring thought, while for others, a plot just hits them one day. For Annette Vera Werle, inspiration started with her experiences as a teacher, and it grew from there.
Her resulting book, “Augustus to the Rescue!” is a story about a young boy dealing with the pressures of sports while using the help of a newfound friend to become successful.
The book, which Werle self-published, was released online during the summer.
Werle, who goes by the pen name Dale Delarew, spent over 30 years of teaching middle school — 18 of those years were spent in the Elmhurst school system. Although Werle now resides in Riverside, she also spent time living in Lombard and teaching in Hinsdale.
After working in the school system for so long, Werle started seeing trends with students and athletics. She noticed some kids seemed to be under tremendous pressure to succeed in athletics at a young age. Even in her own family, she watched her nephew struggle to participate in after-school sports and maintain good grades.
Werle recalls her own childhood — a time when she focused on getting good grades, rather than being absorbed in athletics. Back then, girls didn’t even have teams that practiced after school, but the relationship between academics and sports is a lot different than it used to be, and extracurricular athletics were just a jumping off point for Werle’s book.
Tell us a little about the book.
It’s about a student, Tyler, who’s in a fictitious school in the middle grades. He’s 10 years old, and in the town in which he lives in, basketball is king. The parents want the kids to be good at basketball, so much that the kids are starting basketball in fifth grade gym classes. Tyler is good at sports, but isn’t good at basketball. The kids are telling him that he’s not doing what they know he’s capable of. That’s when a fictitious being from outer space enters his bedroom by means of computer monitor. The being, named Gussie, is there to help him. ... So Tyler accepts Gussie as a coach.
What made you want to write the book?
My kids would came back from gym and be yelling at each other and calling each other names, and I would say, “It’s only a game. What difference does it make?” I decided to take them back to the gym, I said, “We’re not keeping score.” When we didn’t keep scores, they had a wonderful time. The story was just one thing that led to another in my mind.
I know a coach of a basketball team in Cicero through one of my friends, and he says the kids are under tremendous pressure to perform well. ...Everybody is under pressure so that they can get scholarships to pay for school. It’s unfair pressure.
Kids need sports and gym class, but they do not need the additional pressure of sports. They’re doing it because tuition is so high in the colleges, so kids have to do well in sports so they can afford a college education. That’s what my book is about.
What was the writing process like?
Well, I started this book in 1993, and my sister had a stroke shortly after, so I wasn’t really in the mental frame of mind to be able to create this book. I have had it evaluated, and was told that I excluded the parents too much. ... I finally found time to sit down and look at the book again. It took me a year to rewrite it. I then had it evaluated again and was told it was boring. I rewrote it, and have had a good response, so now I think I’ve got it.
WHAT “Augustus to the Rescue!” A book by Annette Vera Werle
GET IT The book can be found at amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com