Local author Beverley Buller will talk about her newly released book, “A Prairie Peter Pan: The Story of Mary White” at 7 p.m. Thursday at Newton Public Library, 720 N. Oak.


Local author Beverley Buller will talk about her newly released book, “A Prairie Peter Pan: The Story of Mary White” at 7 p.m. Thursday at Newton Public Library, 720 N. Oak.

Buller has been a teacher for USD 373 for 33 years, 16 of that as a middle school librarian.

The title, “A Prairie Peter Pan,” ties immediately into the first words of the book, “She was a Peter Pan, who refused to grow up.” Buller at first tried to avoid relying on William Allen White’s famous editorial about the death of his daughter, who at the age of 16 died following a horseback riding accident. Her father poured his heart and his renowned storytelling skills into a loving essay that left its mark on American literature.

But, in Buller’s words, “I finally realized that-who knew her better than her father? And who loved her more than her father? And so much of what I was able to share with the reader was from her father.”

The poignant editorial was published in newspapers across the country and in books of essays that were used by students for decades. As a small-town newspaper editor with a national reputation as an author, he ensured his daughter, like Peter Pan, would stay forever young and alive.

Buller weaves in parts of the editorial throughout the story of this vivacious young lady who grew from being small and sickly to a strong, exuberant prankster. Buller includes examples of her orneriness. Her generous, kind nature is profiled along with her daredevil tendencies. She could draw as well as “ride anything that had four legs and hair.” Mary White’s spunk and spirit left their mark on her hometown of Emporia.

The Peter Pan Park in Emporia, donated by her parents, stands as another memorial for the unforgettable young girl who captured the hearts of many across the United States.

Buller has produced another book interspersed with photographs, clippings, drawings and copies of primary sources.

Buller also is author of “From Emporia: The Story of William Allen White,” published in 2007.

Both books will be available for purchase and signing after the program. This event is free and open to the public.