Minneapolis-based author, Lehman Riley, wrote a series titled "The Adventures Of Papa Lemon's Little Wanderers". In real-life, Papa Lemon is his grandfather. Papa Lemon's Magical Train whisks five racially diverse friends back in time in order for them to learn about different U.S. History lessons. Mr. Riley also wants youth to learn more about their own family history by talking with their grandparents. He stresses this point when he talks with students at elementary schools.
Papa Lemon was born in the small town of West, Mississippi in 1896. His real name was Walter Cain. When Walter was 2 years old, he was acting fussy and cranky one day and his mother said: "You are sour as a lemon". The nickname stuck for his entire life. Eventually, his grandchildren began calling him Papa Lemon!
Papa Lemon passed away in 1973. When Lehman was a child, he and his family would travel to Mississippi from Minneapolis during the summer. Visiting with Papa Lemon was always such an amazing time. He made Lehman feel like the most important child in the world. When Papa Lemon passed away Lehman was only 10 years old. It was like a bad dream! How could Papa Lemon be gone forever?
Fast forward to May 1992. This is when Lehman was spiritually inspired to write children's books featuring Papa Lemon as the main character, even though he never thought about being an author.
What a 25-year journey this has been. Lehman wrote one Papa Lemon book in the mid-1990's. However, life took him another career direction and the book project was put on hold for quite some time. Then, in 2003 his job was being transferred from Minnesota to Wisconsin. The move didn't feel right. However, the time to jump start the Papa Lemon Book business was right on time!
Lehman published his 1st book about Dr. Martin Luther King in "The Adventures of Papa Lemon's Little Wanderers" series in September 2004. Since then, 6 additional 3rd-grade reading level books have been published. With historical figures ranging from Harriet Tubman, Navajo Wind Talkers and the 1st successful heart surgery performed by Dr. Daniel Williams.
Lehman has spoken to 17,000+ students in the Twin Cities area. He is urging the youth to get excited about reading, history and most importantly family history.
I'm sure Papa Lemon would be proud of his grandson's accomplishments! What a way to pay tribute to your grandfather.