A former Carroll County resident went from working in his parent’s restaurant business to becoming a children’s book author, releasing a new book late last year.
William Sharkey was born in Baltimore in 1944 but grew up in Westminster, where he attended Westminster Junior and Senior High School. He graduated high school in 1962. From the 1930s to the 1970s, Sharkey’s parents owned multiple restaurants and operations in Westminster, which he worked in from elementary school up to when he graduated college in 1967.
In November, Sharkey released a children’s book called “Can You Put Diapers On A Goose?”
Q: What inspired you to write this book?
A: My children’s picture book was inspired by my granddaughter in the California desert two years ago, when hundreds of geese landed on the military base where my son-in-law was stationed. When my granddaughter and I went to see and chase the geese, there was goose poop everywhere. I asked this 2-year-old why the geese did not have diapers on so that their poop would not be everywhere. I asked her, “Can you put diapers on a goose?” and she laughed a lot. What a great book title I thought, and so the book was born.
The book opens with a man and a little girl walking down the street commenting on goose poop that was everywhere. The story then asks, “Can you put diapers on a goose, an elephant, a bird, a fish? Et cetera. There are rhyming patterns throughout the book that children like, and the illustrations are perfect for this age group.
Q: How did your time in Carroll County influence your path as a writer?
A: When you asked me how my time living in Carroll County influenced me to write children’s books, I would have to say that there was an indirect link that prepared me unknowingly, through the study, performance and composition of music, that began in Westminster.
Q: Did your family’s restaurant business make you want write for kids? How so?
A: My experience in the restaurant business indirectly contributed to writing books because the social interaction, customer service, preparation, discipline and follow-through utilized the same skills needed to write books. Actually, the sum of all our experiences in life prepare us for a future endeavors that may not show up for some time.
A: After graduating from Towson State College (now Towson University) I took a job as a music teacher at Arundel High School in Anne Arundel County. After three years there I applied for and was accepted to teach overseas in the Philippines and Germany in the schools on our military bases, for four years.
When I returned to the Anne Arundel County schools in 1974, I transitioned to teach music in the elementary schools for the next 27 years. It is during this time that I got to know the inner workings of young children and what they liked. I had two young children of my own and that helped me relate to young minds as well.
For 15 of those 27 years, I was an entertainer at children’s parties, a camp counselor at summer music camps, and the owner and operator of my own two-week summer camp for young musicians. After retirement from the local school system, I was a music teacher at a preschool for five years where I wrote and taught the curriculum. For another 15 years I was a music teacher for young children at my church vacation Bible school during the summer.
I also composed and published music for elementary school band and orchestra students, not realizing that writing children’s books used the same thought process as writing music.