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By Travis Roemheld

An Ahwatukee Foothills children's book author recently visited a Phoenix elementary school to speak with students about the importance of creativity and how experiences in her own life have helped mold her into the author she is today.

Tamicia Currie, author of the Juice and Berries History Adventure series, spoke to a packed room at Litchfield Elementary School about her life as a writer and the significance of the underlying story lines in her book, Peanut Butter and Sweet Potato Pie.

"I wanted to focus on the importance of having your grandparents in your life," she said. "I think its very valuable and I think a lot of times you kind of push them off to the side. I told the kids they are missing out on something beautiful. (Grandparents) have lived through things we have yet to see and we can learn a lot from them."

The Juice and Berries series features a grandfather, Papa Juice, and his adventures with his grandchildren, DJ and Rhonda Berrie. Peanut Butter and Sweet Potato Pie was the first book in the series and was a tribute to George Washington Carver.

Currie said she was inspired to write about such a relationship after seeing how close her father-in-law became with her own children.

"It was really easy for me to come up with these characters because of the relationship my father-in-law has with my children," she said. "The story itself already exists in my real life, I just had to come up with the character's names."

Currie, 33, said it was the actions of her mother that made her become the writer she is today.

"My mother would take away the telephone and the television and she would hand me a stack of books," she said. "They were always about things way beyond my level of understanding."

She told the children of Litchfield Elementary how she came up with the characters of the book and showed them how they could do the same.

"I wanted to teach them how to make characters come alive," Currie said. "All the characters are based off people in my life and I wanted to make them deal with real issues that children can learn from."

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