Valerie Harrigan's parents didn't know what she had done until they visited the Paul Smith Library of Southern York County.

The 10-year-old, of New Freedom, pulled out a children's book "Fortunately," about a girl's adventure during her quest to buy a saxophone. The book is humorous and shows the cause and effects of the character's actions.

Valerie wrote the book.

"I wasn't really thinking about not telling anybody," said Valerie, a fifth-grader at Southern Elementary School. "I just had to (write) it."

She will have a book signing for "Fortunately," during family reading night from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 13, at Leib Elementary School, 2925 Oak Lane in Dover.

Valerie had taken her book to Paul Smith Library to submit it for the library's Year of the Book program, which helps authors develop and publish their works.

However, the program, which ran from Labor Day 2012 to Labor Day 2013, was for adult authors only -- until Valerie showed up with a draft of her book.

She gave her book to a library staff person, who told her about the program's adult author policy.

Persistence: "(The staff member) slid the book back to Valerie and Valerie slid the book back," said Sandra Harrigan, the girl's mother. "She was very persistent, and we knew nothing about this book. It's just overwhelming everything that's happened from that point on."

The staff member took Valerie's book and placed it on the desk of Demi Stevens, Paul Smith Library's director, who wasn't in the office at that time. Stevens read it and decided to include Valerie in the program.

"It's a delightful story," Stevens said. "She worked hard on the book. Whatever needed to be done for the book, she did it."

Stevens said Valerie wrote several drafts of her book until it was ready for publishing in September by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, an company.

For the book's illustrations, Valerie colored the sketches done by Sandra Harrigan, who is listed as "S. Neptune" on the cover.

Sold out: Valerie was the youngest writer among 30 authors featured during a recent Year of the Book event with book sales and signing at Paul Smith Library at 80 Constitution Ave. in Shrewsbury Township.

Her book sold out within the event's first 30 minutes, said Sandra Harrigan, who writes and directs children's plays.

"It feels wonderful to do this," Valerie said. "You never imagine yourself doing this. And I got to see other authors and learn how they do illustrations and writings."

The young author also received an invitation to share her book this month at an elementary school in the Bronx, N.Y., her mother said.

Valerie said she first wrote "Fortunately" for a class assignment while in fourth grade at her school. She decided to make "Fortunately" into a book after learning about Paul Smith's Year of the Book program.

Valerie's father, Errol Harrigan, said he's glad Valerie didn't tell him and his wife about her book-writing efforts.

They would have become too helpful and interfered with her creativity, said Errol Harrigan, a Baltimore City Public Schools teacher.

"I hope she continues writing and appreciates the gift God has given her," he said. "She's compassionate, humble and loves sharing what she learns. She's like a little teacher."

-- Reach Eyana Adah McMillan at

Author signing

Valerie Harrigan will sign copies of "Fortunately," during family reading night from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 13, at Leib Elementary School, 2925 Oak Lane in Dover.

Her 30-page book costs $9. It can be purchased at and on by doing a search with her name.