CEDAR LAKE — At the end of the school year, third graders at Lincoln Elementary School learned that their passion can take them places they have never even dreamed of. They learned that lesson, and many more from a visitor named Karen Kulinski, the author of the book, “Rescuing Ivy.”
Kulinski was born in Chicago, but moved to Griffith many years ago and considers it her hometown. Like many of the students at Lincoln, one of her teachers had a big impact on her life. While in middle school, “the words of a teacher led me to believe I could be a writer,” said Kulinski.
Through a power point presentation Kulinski told the students, who read her book “Rescuing Ivy,” about a circus elephant was inspired by another story she found while doing research as curator for the Griffith Historical Park and Railroad Museum in Griffith. Sharing the story of how “Rescuing Ivy,” came to be, was a lesson in perseverance and hard work. “IVY is special to me because I feel it was a story I was born to write,” said Kulinski. When she found the story, “The Day They Hung an Elephant in the Railyard,” she was moved by the horrific true story of an elephant named Mary, who was killed in 1916. “I could never forget it,” she explained. “Five years later, I got the idea for Ivy, which ends much happier for the elephant, thanks to the efforts of a young girl, a boy from the circus, and two hoboes. In my heart, I hope that children knowing Ivy’s story, which mirrors what Mary went through, makes up at least a little bit for what we humans did to that poor elephant so long ago.”
Kulinski’s story describes how much work went into researching, writing and getting the story of Ivy published. Her research took her to a real circus, the Circus World museum and a sanctuary for retired elephants.