Mrs. Jingles comes to Maddox

By NICOLE SMITH, Daily Mountain Eagle
Posted 12/24/17

Mrs. Jingles made a special visit to Maddox Middle School Tuesday to spread kindness and Christmas cheer.

Chef LaTasha Allen read her first book “Mrs. Jingles is Coming to Town!!!” to Maddox students on Tuesday. The book is based off a character she created that closely embodies her own joy and loving spirit.

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Mrs. Jingles comes to Maddox

Posted

Mrs. Jingles made a special visit to Maddox Middle School Tuesday to spread kindness and Christmas cheer.

Chef LaTasha Allen read her first book “Mrs. Jingles is Coming to Town!!!” to Maddox students on Tuesday. The book is based off a character she created that closely embodies her own joy and loving spirit.

The book’s main character, Mrs. Jingles, cooks throughout the story, and a recipe is included in the book that’s kid friendly.

Allen said she used to be a teacher’s aide at Memorial Park Elementary School. It’s there that she dressed as a character version of herself, Mrs. Jingles, for a Christmas party. She said students loved Mrs. Jingles, but as time went by and the students grew up, people were not as familiar with the beloved character. She decided to write a book to change that.

“I was just praying and wanted the message of the book to get out there,” Allen said.

The message? Kindness.

“She’s me. She really is,” Allen said of Mrs. Jingles. “Each day I try to go out of my way [to be kind]. Sometimes it’s just a smile or saying hello to a stranger. I think if we would look at life as a gift each day, the world would be so much kinder.

“It’s one of the reasons why I wanted to start with a children’s book, because they’re the next generation. If we can start instilling these things in them, then the world will continue to get better.”

Allen said she wrote the book in one night, and received a letter from a publishing company in January that they wanted to publish her story of a chef spreading kindness. It was officially published Oct. 13.

As Allen read to kids at Maddox, she provided them with rings to wear. Each time she read the word “jingle” in her book, students were encouraged to shake their hand, which caused the bell on each ring to jingle. Students laughed as she read through the pages and showed them the book’s colorful illustrations that she designed.

While Allen still has a deep love for children, she left her career in education to earn a degree in nutrition science. She received her culinary degree from Culinard in Birmingham in 2005.

Allen works as the food service and nutrition director for Forest Manor in Northport, where she serves 180 residents. She also has a food ministry, the Supper Club, that feeds the elderly and homeless, and she has her own professional chef service.

“One of the reasons I have a passion for cooking and love cooking is because that’s how I show my love. That’s how I express my love to my family, friends and strangers,” Allen said.

Allen said she has also read her book at the Arc of Walker County and has other reading engagements in Birmingham. A paperback version of her book can be purchased on Amazon for $9.95, while the e-reader version sells for $1.95.