Girdwood woman becomes first-time author of children’s book after retirement

Published: Feb. 28, 2022 at 5:53 PM AKST|Updated: Feb. 28, 2022 at 6:56 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Longtime Girdwood resident Barby Bowers says some of her best moments happen when she is hiking in the woods around her home. She calls it her “happy place,” and at over 70 years old, she still makes sure to get out every day.

It was those same woods where Bowers had a puzzling encounter 20 years ago. She was walking with her dog when she spotted something in the woods. It appeared to be a man wearing plaid pants.

“I looked, and about 40, 50 feet away, what I thought was a man in plaid pants. And I stopped and thought, uh, this is a little strange,” she said.

Bowers said the man turned out to be a moose, and his plaid pants were simply shadows on its legs cast by the trees. Still, the image stayed with her, and in 2020, after retiring from a long career as a bookkeeper, she decided she should write a children’s book that included the encounter.

“If you think, well what’s my goal in life? It was to A, leave a legacy, and B ... to make children smile and stretch their imagination,” Bowers said.

The book, “Moose in Plaid Pants,” does just that. Bowers included other silly animal encounters in the story that she wrote and fellow Girdwood resident Becky Young illustrated. She said getting the book self-published was a big learning curve, and, although proud of the results, an experience she wouldn’t want to repeat.

“I don’t think so, because if it took me 20 years to get it together with my imagination and spill it all out in an artform, just the writing, I don’t think I could do it again,” she said.

Still, she’s glad she went for it.

“Do it before you get much over 70,” she joked. “... If you’ve always wanted to do something you just better go ahead and do it before it’s too late.”

Bowers said “Moose in Plaid Pants” should be available at local bookstores and gift shops sometime in April.

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