Daughter to carry on legacy of Manassas author

Manassas children’s book author Ann Berry, 67, died Sunday at Fairfax Hospital from complications of a long illness.

Berry and her daughter Sarah Berry March gained national recognition in the 1990s with “The Original Goody Pie Kids’ Adventure,” a book in which children discover their superhuman ability to melt even the cruelest heart.

The Goody Pie Kids came to Mr. and Mrs. Goody Pie when eight precious stones fell from heaven. The gems turned into eight wonderful children when Mrs. Goody Pie washed the dirt from them in the kitchen sink.

The self-published book, tailored for early elementary school-aged children, taught the values of sharing, caring, helping others, telling the truth, using good manners and to be constantly on guard against the Meanie Pies.

In a 1989 interview with The Potomac News, soon after the book was first published, Berry said she had faith that children would rise to any occasion and behave with honesty, kindness and love and exhibit good judgment if adults simply asked it of them.

“The adventures give kids active examples to follow,” Berry said in the interview. “Children are very loving and giving and I want them to hold onto that.”

As Berry and her daughter toured locally with the book, the questions they got from the 2- to 6-year-old children in their audiences led them to develop a program using Goody Pie dolls to teach the children ways to guard against illegal drug use.

March and her mother stopped touring with the book when Berry had a stroke in 1997, March said.

Several counties nationally, including Dade County in Florida and Prince George’s County in Maryland, as well as Manassas City Schools, Stafford County Schools and Richmond City Schools adopted the program into their curriculum.

In an eulogy for her mother, March wrote that her mother’s memory will live in the adventures of the children she created.

“Every time a little child opens a Goody Pie Kids’ book and reads it for the first time, she [her mother] will live again,” March wrote.

March said she will revive the program and take the Goody Pie message to children once again as a way to remember her mother.

“The kids just love it. We’re coming back,” March said.

The initial revival presentation of the “The Goody Pie Kids” will be at 1 p.m. Jan. 14 at Jewels and Gems of Ann Private Day Care Center at 13163 Centerpointe Way in Dale City.

For information about the show, call the day care center at (703) 580-0553.

Those interested in the program can call March at (703) 221-2906 or (703) 966-2762.

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