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Posted: November 3, 2014


APS Nurse-Turned-Author Pens Balloon Fiesta Book

"The Southwest Sunrise Surprise" by Molly Covington of McKinley MS & Desert Willow Family School is the first children’s book published by the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.

"It’s dark, and cold
It’s bright and bold

With yummy treats and trucks in fleets

Every color represented envelopes are filled and vented

So big you feel disoriented
soul and heart are now contented."

From "The Southwest Sunrise Surprise"

From waking up before the sun and feeling the pre-dawn chill to being encompassed by an explosion of color that paints the earth and sky, "The Southwest Sunrise Surprise" by APS nurse Molly Covington experiences the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta from a child's point of view.  

Covington, who is the school nurse at McKinley Middle School and Desert Willow Family School, stepped outside her traditional role to write “The Southwest Sunrise Surprise,” a rhyming tale inspired by her love of the Fiesta.

It is the first children’s book published by the Balloon Fiesta and will be sold along with other official merchandise during the event beginning Saturday.

The non-profit Balloon Fiesta is picky about the products it's willing to sell, according to Merchandise Manager Lisa Mulder, but chose to publish Covington's book because it was something that was lacking in the ballooning community.

"All of my merchandise has to be hot air balloon related or branded with our Balloon Fiesta logo. This requirement makes it difficult at times to find product that I think our customers would love," Mulder said. A few months ago Molly walked in to my office and handed me this wonderful rhyming story. She explained her love for the Fiesta and I fell in love with the story."

Mulder said the book, illustrated by Covington's artist mother Annette Puccini, successfully captures the spirit of the Fiesta.

“I’m honored to have my story published,” Covington said. “The Fiesta is something I love so much, and to be part of it is now amazing.”

SW Sunrise

“The Southwest Sunrise Surprise” didn’t begin as a children’s book, rather Covington wrote it as a short story for a writer’s group. The fifth-generation Albuquerque native was inspired by childhood memories as well as new experiences of taking her children to the annual event. The illustrations are based upon members of her family.

“The story is about how we always went to the Fiesta,” Covington said. “It comes from my love of bringing new people to the Fiesta to see them have a new experience.”

Covington will be signing her book at the Fiesta's south merchandise tent on:

  • Saturday, Oct 4, from 5-9 a.m.SW Sunrise 2
  • Sunday, Oct. 5, from 5-8 p.m. 
  • Thursday, Oct. 9, from 5-9 a.m.
  • Friday, Oct. 10, from 5-8 p.m.
  • Saturday Oct. 11, from 5-9 a.m. 
  • Sunday, Oct. 12, from 5-9 a.m. 

Covington also will be reading her book to children at Comanche Elementary, where she is PTA president,  following Albuquerque Aloft on Friday. 

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