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Ozarks Life: Generations have grown up on David Harrison books

Over the years, the Springfield native has written more than 70 children’s books.
Published: Mar. 25, 2022 at 8:54 AM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Sitting in south Springfield is David Harrison Elementary School. An honor David Harrison himself cannot comprehend.

“Every time I come out here,” Harrison says, “I try not to make a nuisance of myself. I’m here once or twice a year and every time, it’s that excitement of seeing that (the school) really is there.”

This past week, the school welcomed its namesake for his 85th birthday.

“It’s hard to put in words,” Harrison said. “A writer should be able to do better than I’m doing.”

Over the years, the Springfield native has written more than 70 children’s books. For a birthday treat, he read his latest to the fourth graders at his school.

“Some of the problems that young people have, we all have,” Harrison said about his collection of work. “They have their own level of intense trouble. Sometimes I hear from people who say, ‘you’ve helped me.’ I made a lot of difference.”

And like all authors, David receives fan mail. But his, comes from adults thanking him for being an inspiration.

“So over a period of decades, 50 years, I’ve had lots of wonderful stories written to me,” Harrison said. “Wonderful stories about kids who grew up to become teachers or grew up to become librarians or grew up to write. I take enormous pleasure each time.”

Along with being an author, this Central and Drury grad also served on the SPS school board, has volunteered in the district for almost 40-years, and was a founding member of the Foundation for Springfield Public Schools and created the Reading Round-Up which supports the school district’s libraries.

His love for reading came at a young age. He says it’s all thanks to his amazing parents.

“When I was four years old, my mother taught me the Gettysburg Address and made a costume Uncle Sam costume and put me on the stage at Grace Methodist Church,” Harrison recalled. “Adults made over me and I thought, Wow, that’s pretty heavy stuff for a four year old and and I just fell in love with words.”

But being able to share those words with impressionable minds has been priceless.

“When you write, you’re by yourself,” Harrison said. “I work seven hours a day, five days a week, but I’m by myself. So when I finally get the audience, the kids I’m writing for and see the reactions and the their faces. And that’s payday. And I can’t wait to do it. Again. It’s very addictive.”

" I never dreamed anything like this could happen,” Harrison concluded. “I’ll never be able to repay it.”

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