BENTON CITY -- Noelia Hickman has been telling tall tales to her children for years.
When her children grew up, she began telling them to her grandchildren.
Three years ago, she decided to turn those bedtime stories into a series of children's books called The Sagebrush Woolies, self-published by Authorhouse Publishing in Indiana.
"The stories were easy to write, being that I had told them countless times to my children," she said.
Never miss a local story.
The Woolies are cute little caricatures with heads that look like onions and shapeless bodies who live on a cherry orchard in Benton City.
Hickman will read from her books, in English and Spanish, at 10 a.m. Thursday at the Benton City branch of the Mid-Columbia Libraries, 810 Horne Drive. She also will hold a book signing from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Nov. 11 at the Richland Bookworm, 701 The Parkway #A.
Hickman illustrates and writes the stories, which reflect the Benton City surroundings where she lives. They are written in English, Spanish and French.
"The landscape was right in front of me, so I drew the side yard with the pine trees and the pond," she said. "Everything else is within the surroundings of the farm."
However, giving imagery to her characters was a bigger challenge because she had nothing to look at for comparison, like she did the landscape.
She sewed fabric together to create the bodies of the Woolies, but still she had no heads or faces to go with them.
"I asked my daughter Cassie and son Ernie to drawn onions for me one day," Hickman said. "They did, and when I placed them together (with the bodies), the Sagebrush Woolies came to life."
She found inspiration in those onions and the complete character came together and the Woolies were born. But there was a good reason she chose onions instead of the cherries.
"I might live on a cherry orchard now, but I grew up in Texas across the street from an onion field," she said.
Hickman named her main characters after her children and grandchildren.
"The other characters in the stories are named after close friends," she said. "This has a funny twist to it because one friend had a hissy fit when she found out she was a cow. A few minutes later, she discovered she was, in fact, a beautiful purple cow."
There are three books in the series so far, and Hickman is working on a fourth.
The books can be purchased at Amazon.com for about $13 each. She hopes to have the books available soon in Tri-City area bookstores.