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Local People

Whimsical stories shared between her and her youngest daughter, helped spark the idea for Finleyville native, Kristen (Haniford) Marusich to write her first children’s book, Penelope’s Purple Pajamas.


The new children’s book Penelope’s Purple Pajamas is available on and

“It’s a fun book about a little girl who refuses to go to sleep without her favorite pajamas,” said Marusich.  “She tries to stay awake all night but succumbs to a colorful dream with a surprise ending.”

Marusich, a 1985 graduate of Ringgold High School said the book was inspired by stories that she and her youngest daughter, Michaela would make up while cleaning her room when she was little.  “I’ve had the idea of writing this book for years, and with the pandemic I finally had time to pursue it.” 

The manuscript was submitted to Newman Springs Publishers in New Jersey and they informed her that they wanted to publish the book, and assigned an illustrator to create the visuals and design used throughout the book.   The complete process once the manuscript was accepted to finalize the book and release it to the public was about one year.

Authoring a children’s book was a natural step for Marusich, who has worked in early childhood education for nearly 18 years and has been exposed to a variety of children’s picture books, poems and literature over the course of her career.  

Kristen now lives in Virginia with her husband Andrew, three children, and one grandchild.

Penelope’s Purple Pajamas is a wonderful gift for any new parents, or young children.  It is available in hardcover and paperback on, and formats such as Kindle, Nook and iBooks.




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