An e-mail from the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. isn’t what most people expect to find in their inbox when checking their e-mail. But that is exactly what Kimberly Wagner found.

Wagner, a Washington local, is a children’s book author. Her latest book published in 2008 called You Can’t Do That, Amelia! is available in the museum’s bookstore.

“Joyce Burns, who is the educational director at the Smithsonian, e-mailed me and requested I come and do a book signing because this book was selling really well in their stores,” Wagner said.

Over the summer, the Smithsonian Museum had a reading session with the children featuring Wagner’s most recent book.

Earlier this month, Wagner traveled to Washington D.C. with her husband and two children where she had a signing table in the museum’s store, signing close to 100 books.

An elementary school teacher for 10 years, Wagner started writing books on what her students were learning. Her first book was on the Underground Railroad.

“Mine are more historically geared even though they’re picture books,” Wagner said.

Because they are historically-based, it’s important to Wagner that they are accurate. Wagner spent two years doing research and visiting historical sites while working on You Can’t Do That, Amelia!

“It didn’t take that long to actually write the story, just a lot of background information that went into it,” Wagner said.

She visited the Amelia Earhart Birthplace Museum in Atchison, Kan., meeting people who knew Earhart, including her stepson G.P. Putnum III. She also spoke with some women in the “Ninety-Nines,” an organization established by Earhart in 1929 to promote women pilots.

Wagner also has other books published all under her pen name Kimberly Wagner Klier: Songs of David, about the Underground Railroad, Summer of Secrets, loosely-based on a Mark Twain book, and Firefly Friend, the story of a girl and a firefly.

“Now I do this full time, and I’m an at-home mother. I visit schools as well, and I speak at reading conferences,” Wagner said

“The inspiration for my books originally came from my classroom,” she said. “A lot of what I wrote reflected what I was teaching at the time. Now my inspiration probably comes from history. I’m really drawn to historical places or people.”

Wagner, who has been writing now for nine years, is the president of the Monday Afternoon Club and has traveled across the United States visiting many Underground Railroad sites and other historical locations.

“I have a lot of books in process right now. They’re just not on the market,” she said.

Wagner said readers should keep a look out for her next book which will be about Thomas Eddison.

More information about Wagner’s books can be found on her Web site: Also, a movie portraying Earhart’s life was released today.

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