By Ralphine Major

“In the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, a young boy enjoys the wonder of a hot, summer night catching fireflies.  However, these are unique fireflies.  It is the synchronous firefly.  On the other side of the world, a young boy from Southeast Asia enjoys the same thrills of the fireflies on a hot, summer night, once again showing us that no matter where children might live, they all experience the joys of nature and the excitement of discovering the natural world.”  The story of two little boys enjoying the spectacular light show of the synchronous fireflies sounds exactly like something a teacher would write.  The teacher was Tamela Marie Wheeler.  This amazing story is told in her book, “Moondance of the Fireflies.”

Sadly, Tamela passed away suddenly just before her book was to be published.  Thankfully, her family went ahead with this entertaining and educational gem so that children could benefit from Tamela’s years of teaching and her talent for writing.  The display of fireflies in the Elkmont area of the Smokies  draws thousands each year and seems much more magnificent than the lightning bugs my brother and I caught in the back yard on summer evenings many years ago.

Now, I think of Tamela every year at the first mention of the synchronous firefly event.  Focus readers may purchase “Moondance of the Fireflies” by e-mailing or by calling 865-679-2917.  The cost is $9.95 plus shipping and handling.  What a great way to share with children the marvelous sights of nature in God’s great world!  This wonderful little book will be a treasure for children to enjoy over and over.