Alexandria Jones worked in public safety for more than 20 years, aiding people in distress first as a D.C. police officer, then as a 911 operator.
Recently, she has turned some of her attention to easing the fears of children.
The 45-year-old District Heights resident published her first children’s book, “Rico and Pencil Boy’s Adventure,” about a young boy who is scared before his first day of school. The boy uses his imagination to calm his fears, and he learns to make new friends and love school.
The book was published March 30 by Tate Publishing, an Oklahoma-based Christian publishing firm.
The story, Jones said, was inspired by her 7-year-old son, Rico, and his fears of transitioning from pre-school to kindergarten.
“I’m blessed to have him right there; he gives me a lot of good material,“ she said.
The book is the first of what could become a series of five, Jones said, designed to teach children values. The mini-series could serve as a launching point for a cartoon series, she said.
“The cartoons now are violent and scary,” she said. “I want to bring [cartoon shows] back to the basics.”
Writing, Jones said, helps take the edge off her primary job as a 911 operator in the nation’s capital.
“It brings me down from my high-intensity job, and it gives me a sense of balance,” she said.
Her interest in books, she said, developed as a youth.
The youngest of seven children raised in Hyattsville, Md., Jones read self-help and inspirational books, especially when she was a teen, she said.
The Anacostia Senior High School graduate joined the Metropolitan Police Department at 23. In 2008, she got laid off from her 911-operator job for a few months, she said, leaving time to pursue her dream of becoming an author.
For the next year and a half, she worked with an editor at Tate Publishing to produce her book. She finished it earlier this year.
Jones said she has been getting a lot of positive feedback on the book from kids, who say the book is colorful and fun. She is waiting for a publication date for her next book, “Rico and Pencil Boy’s Circus Adventures.”
Newsline Video: Jones talks about her inspiration for her book.
– By Maryland Newsline’s Daniela Feldman