New storyteller


The scene at the Truman Kimbro Center on Saturday was more like a family reunion than a book-signing event.

Children ran around the room and adults hugged one another and talked about how blessed they are. Old friends greeted one another and shared cake and raspberry iced tea.

The occasion is particularly special for Class of 2000 Madisonville High School graduate Josalyn Ironette-Dione Holiday, who was autographing copies of her first children’s book, "A Treasure in Irianna," while guests enjoyed the refreshments.

A child named Kameryn asks Holiday to inscribe a book, noting, “I read to my mama.” Another guest asks for a book to be made out to his mother and tells Holiday the matriarch is “still in the hospital.” She writes, “get well soon” among other inspirational words. Another visitor says, “I’m proud of you. Thank you for all you have done for us and all you have shared for us.”

Holiday, a pre-kindergarten teacher in Houston, said she wrote the book – inspired by her daughter – in just 15 minutes.

“I always wanted to do it,” said the 34-year-old. “I give a lot of the glory to God.”

"A Treasure in Irianna" is for sale at Amazon and Barnes & Noble and has gained popularity as far away as South Africa, Australia and the United Kingdom. It was scheduled for release around Christmas, but Holiday said she was pleased that the delayed release instead coincided with Black History Month.

Her students “think I’m famous,” she said with a laugh. She is now completing her doctorate online through Concordia University and said “the wheels are turning” for her next project.”

“I could tell you what it’s about but it might change,” she said, adding that her original plan for Treasure “switched” when she sat down to pen it.

For more information about "A Treasure in Irianna," visit