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Mena Arkansas News covering Polk County and the surrounding area

In the photo, Erma is shown holding a four-day-old baby armadillo, who had been separated from her mother and three sisters and provided to Tommy Young, manager of the Arkansas Native Plant and Wildlife Center. He nurtured the baby armadillo until she reached maturity (3-months old) and returned her to the wild.

Ermadilla Goes to Austin


Proving it’s never too late to follow your dreams, local personality Erma Dilbeck Mize  turned local author, has published her first book, Ermadilla Goes to Austin. She explains the inspiration came decades ago from a seed planted by a simple nickname acquired from her first and maiden name – Ermadilla. “I then began thinking about writing children’s books featuring an adventurous little armadillo as the main character. My vision was for the books to combine fantasy with lessons in history. I wrote the first one and had ideas for others, but stopped short of being published.”

Ermadilla’s adventure includes an encounter with former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee and learning a bit about Stephen F. Austin along the way. Erma’s spirited imagination is brought to life through the talents of local artist Bill Wells who created all of the illustrations that bring Ermadilla to life for readers.

Erma said the main message she hopes readers gain from the book is that Ermadilla was very determined to get where she was going…she never waivered no matter what obstacles or struggles she encountered, she just kept following her dream!

The book has been well-received in Erma’s hometown of Mena with three book signings. One was at the local Walmart this past Saturday and two more are scheduled: September 5 from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. at PaPa’s Mexican Café and on September 6 from 10 a.m. until Noon at the Polk County Library. The book has also received overwhelming support from Ermadilla’s hometown in the Texas hill country. A book signing is scheduled in Saginaw, Texas at the local library on September 27. Two more will be held in San Saba, Texas, where the armadilla is the school mascot.  One will be on October 31 at Jordan Cattle Auction and another on November 2 on the town square during a large festival.


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