Emporia woman looking to help stop violence with new book about WWII

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Jerilynn Henrikson

An Emporia woman is reliving the history of World War II from some of her own life experiences, putting it all in a book.

Jerilynn Henrikson has become a well-known author in Emporia, writing mostly children’s books. Now, she’s trying something different writing a novel about World War II.

Her research starts with her dad. Jerilynn’s dad fought in the war, leaving to fight 15 days after D-Day. It wasn’t until Jerilynn was an adult she learned about her dads time in the military.

“He was much more outgoing and funny and lively,” Jerilynn said. “And it just kind of took the starch out of him.”

Without giving away too much, part of the fictional story starts with a Kansas man who is fighting for his culture and the people suffering from genocide in the 1940s. Leaving on the same day his daughter is born.

“He’s a Jew from Topeka,” Jerilynn said. “And he prays he will get home to see her again. And I’ll let you read the book to find out whether that happens or not.”

Jerilynn was committed to learning about what happened during the war from the perspective of the soldiers. Before she could start her book she took her research to France to properly write this story.

“Jerilynn’s commitment to helping others makes her an ideal author for a book of this seriousness and import,” said Marcia Lawrence, owner of Ellen Plumb’s City Bookstore in Emporia.

The book became difficult for the retired teacher to write because it’s not something she is used to as she mostly writes book for kids.

However, she hopes it sparks conversations about other issues, like the crisis at the border.

“When I see pictures of babies in cages, it upsets me,” Jerilynn said. “And this is something I can do about it.”

She said she can’t save the world, but she hopes to share the stories of others to help stop violence.

Jerilynn isn’t quite sure when the book will be ready, but she said she has been given a deadline of October to start on the final process.

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