Manasquan Mom Writes Children’s Book, ‘Beach Santa’

MANASQUAN, NJ — This Manasquan mother of three always wanted to be a published author.

She just had no idea it would be for a kids’ book about Santa Claus.

MB (her nickname, it stands for Mary Beth) Paradise, 51, graduated from Rutgers University and works as an athletic trainer. She said she tried to have books and articles published about sports medicine or health/wellness in the past — all without success.

So instead, she focused on her career and raising her three children, now ages 12, 17 and 19.

It was one summer day with her kids that she got a very unlikely inspiration for her book:

“We were at the Jersey Shore and my kids were looking for shells in the sand,” she said. “They couldn’t find and were very loud about it, carrying on, and this older gentleman fishing nearby came over to them. Out of his pocket, he produced the most beautiful, sparkling, pristine seashells you can imagine — they were clearly not from New Jersey!”

She said her children were dumbfounded. As he walked away her daughter, then 6 (now 17), chirped to her: “He’s like Beach Santa!”

Paradise said she was so struck by her daughter’s turn of phrase, and the kindness of the man, that she wrote down what her daughter had said.

“That piece of paper literally sat in my dresser drawer for the next 10 years.”

It was only in the past year and a half that Paradise turned what her daughter had said into a book: “Beach Santa” is a fully illustrated, 32-page children’s book about what Santa Claus does after Christmas, after he’s delivered all the presents and flown around the world in his sleigh.

“Santa is exhausted and needs a vacation,” said Paradise. “He heads south for some sun and his main goal is just to catch a fish. In the end, he ends up catching something very different instead.”

Paradise hired Jay Asch and Erin McGrane to do the illustrations. You can find the book on Amazon here: https://www.amazon.com/Beach-S…

Also, Paradise is donating 25 percent of all her book’s proceeds to Team LeGrand, a fundraising arm of the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, which looks for treatments and cures for spinal cord injuries.

She said she was inspired to write the book after seeing Eric LeGrand at a Rutgers game while she was working as a trainer. It was during a 2010 Rutgers-Army game that LeGrand took a hard hit and suffered a traumatic spinal cord injury. He is now paralyzed and uses a wheelchair.

“I saw him in his wheelchair and I really thought about how every single thing in life is hard for him. Then I read this past year that Eric just opened up his own coffee shop in Woodbridge. I realized that if he can do something like that, I can finish this book!”

She also modeled one of the characters in her book after LeGrand; look for the child who uses a wheelchair.

All this past fall, Paradise has walked into New Jersey toy stores and book stores and asked if they would carry her book. Amazingly, many stores said yes, and ordered several copies of her book to sell.

“I have literally been walking into places with a copy of my book and saying, ‘Hey, would you take a chance on this?’ If they say yes, then great. If not, I move on. So far, everyone has said yes; everyone has been so supportive.”

Currently, you can buy a copy of “Beach Santa” at:

  • The Eatontown Barnes & Noble
  • The Brick Barnes & Noble
  • The Barnes & Noble on the Rutgers campus in New Brunswick
  • Thunder Road Books in Spring Lake
  • The Little Point Bookshop in Point Pleasant
  • Quinnderella’s toys in Manasquan
  • Toy Utopia in Red Bank
  • Turnstile Coffee in Belmar
  • Bungalow Road, a specialty boutique in Avon
  • Periwinkles in Cranford
  • Bethany Books in Bethany Beach, Delaware
  • It will also be sold at the Rutgers’ men’s and women’s basketball games this winter, in the area where they sell team merchandise.

Paradise will do a story hour at LeGrand’s coffee ship in Woodbridge at 11:30 am Dec. 17. She will read out loud from her book; all are welcome, especially families with children.

LeGrand Coffee House is located on the ground floor of Avenue + Green, the new apartment building at 10 Green Street (Rahway Ave. and Green Street), just steps away from the Woodbridge train station.

If you want to book Paradise for children’s readings, her email is [email protected] and her author website is mbparadisauthor.com Follow her on Instagram for local author events @mbparadiseauthor

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