Jacqueline Manina poses in front of a Barnes and Noble store holding her book.

W&J junior pens and publishes children’s book during quarantine

Created: May 10, 2021  |  Last Updated: October 4, 2021  |  Category:   |  Tagged: , ,

WASHINGTON, PA (May 10, 2021)—In the early days of quarantine in 2020 Jacqueline Mannina ’22 noticed that her then-10-year-old sister, Gianna, was having trouble adjusting to a new way of life.

The Washington & Jefferson College English major and education minor also read news reports about children all over the world having difficulties with the sudden change to their routine. As a future educator, she decided to do something to make the adjustment easier for America’s youth.

“I thought it would be a nice thing to write a book to help kids stay positive in such a tough time,” Jacqueline said. “So, I decided to write this book to help children understand that one day this will be over, and things will get better.”

Drawing inspiration from her own family quarantine activities and following her grandmother’s recipe for a quick and simple homemade pizza, Jacqueline wrote “Cooking Pizza in Quarantine,” and sent her manuscript to Dorrance Publishing. It was accepted, and the book is available online through Walmart, Target and Amazon as well as online and in-store at local Barnes & Noble locations.

“When I was younger, my parents would take me to Barnes & Noble and I would spend hours browsing the shelves. I even will go there now to their cafes to do work. I’ve always loved that store, so to see my book in the kids’ department is pretty incredible,” Jacqueline said.

The support from the W&J English Department and other faculty has been instrumental in getting Jacqueline to where she is today. She began her undergraduate education at another larger institution, but when her interests shifted from STEM to English education, she felt the need to make a change. As a Washington, Pa., native, she knew that W&J offered more personalized learning experiences than larger universities and chose to transfer to W&J in Fall 2019.

“W&J has given me a lot of experiences because it is a smaller college,” Jacqueline said. “Even though I only spent a short time on campus before COVID, I’ve had internships where W&J has placed me in classrooms in local high schools and elementary schools, and I’m an education department mentor.”

Jacqueline’s had a great early response to her book, selling a few hundred copies through online orders. She hopes to advocate for her work with more local retailers during the summer to have the book in stock in more physical locations.

And what about the most important critic, the now-11-year-old Gianna?

“She thinks it’s great. She tells everyone about it,” Jacqueline said. “I’m so glad that I could do this for her.”

About Washington & Jefferson College
Washington & Jefferson College, proudly located in Washington, Pa., is a historic liberal arts college founded in 1781 that values ethical leadership, professional readiness, and inclusive communities. Our highly customized and intellectually engaging student experience develops professionals of uncommon integrity to lead in an ever-changing world. For more information about W&J, visit www.washjeff.edu, or call 888-W-AND-JAY