The Family Night program is a bonding experience for families. It encourages kids and parents to get out and do something together. The event, which will go on for six weeks, features Parker’s “Night Night” book series. The goal of these books is to calm down children for bed and to help them go to sleep.
July 27 through Aug. 31 there is a different theme based off of the Night Night series for every Thursday night. The next family night is on Aug. 3 and the theme will be related to the book “Night Night, Mommy”.
Parker read her book “Night Night, Farm” which is what the theme of the family night was based off of Thursday night at the Ryan’s Lebanon location. There was entertainment, activities, and free popcorn and cotton candy. Her books were featured on the menus.
Parker graduated from Watertown High School in 1994. She said she first majored in nursing in college before changing her major to English with a writing minor. Parker had an internship with Tommy Nelson, which is where her love for the publishing industry began.
“I didn’t care what I did in the publishing industry, I just knew I wanted to be there,” said Parker.
She later went to work with Tommy Nelson as an editor. She said that shortly after she landed the job, the company was forced to lay people off, and she was cut. She lost what she referred to as her “dream job”. Tommy Nelson asked her to stay and work there as a freelance writer, which she admitted she knew nothing about at the time.
“One day we were in a meeting and they said we need to adapt this book, The Traveller’s Gift, into a teen book and I volunteered to do it.” said Parker.
That was her first book with her name on the title page. Although, the “Night Night” series is what essentially started her career as a children’s author.
“The Night Night series started when I was trying to get my 3 year old, redhead to sleep. He was wiggling around like he always was and I looked out the window and I said shh, the trees are sleeping and he stopped,” said Parker.
She wrote it all down that night and took the draft in to Tommy Nelson the next day.
She has sold 1.5 million books in her career. She released her newest book “Night, Night Train” on Tuesday and “Night, Night Jungle” will release in the spring. “My Christmas Prayer” is coming out this fall. It is a short, sweet book for little ones about all of the good things about Christmas.
Family Nights will be from 5 to 8 p.m. every Thursday night until Aug. 31. Children eat for $1.99 with the purchase of a regular adult meal.