University alumna pens children’s book to honor her late sister

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Courtesy of Tyra McGary

Tyra McGary and her brother Peronous “Pete” Clark are photographed with McGary’s children’s book “A’Tiffa’s Mystery Adventure.” McGary held a book signing and balloon release in memory of her sister A’Tiffa on Dec. 9, 2020 in TickFaw, La.

In November 2020, two-time university alumna Tyra McGary released her first book, a children’s book titled “A’Tiffa’s Mystery Adventure,” in memory of her sister, A’Tiffa Ronique Wilson, who passed away from breast cancer in November 2017 at the age of 34.

The book, published under her pseudonym Tyra T. Wilson, revolves around a young schoolgirl who lives and attends school near a beach, enjoys time with her friends, and loves to solve mysteries. One day, she is tasked with the case of missing items at school, bringing readers along for an adventure.

McGary wants her book to show young readers who A’Tiffa was; in addition to promoting problem-solving and sharing with them the validity of grief.

“It not only shares critical thinking, but nowadays, kids at all ages potentially experienced the loss of a loved one, so I did include that ‘In Loving Memory’ to just share with young readers that this sometimes happens and hold on to what you love. Hold on to those good memories,” said McGary.

From Southeastern, McGary received a Bachelor of Arts in social work in 2001 and a General Studies degree in 2010. She is currently enrolled in Loyola University’s Master of Business Administration program. She said her social work degree played a role in her healing process.

“My degree in social work was very, very helpful in the sense that I knew what I needed to do for me regarding grieving and healing and articulating that in a way that I could share the story that I was trying to convey with others but also keep it a good piece of memorabilia for me,” noted McGary.

McGary will be donating “A’Tiffa’s Mystery Adventure” to the Tangipahoa Parish Library and also hopes to donate the book to schools throughout the parish.

“It’s very important to me,” said McGary. “A’Tiffa and I did go to college here in Louisiana, and I want her friends and our family to enjoy this story as well as everyone else.”

McGary started working on this project before her sister lost her battle to cancer. It took her about five years to put all the pieces together and she said the release date was intentionally planned around the anniversary of A’Tiffa’s passing.

“For me, as a part of my grieving process and wanting to keep those beautiful memories of her, it was very instrumental for me to connect those dates with this book,” shared McGary.

One person who is inspired by McGary daily is her husband, Carl McGary.

He said, “Every day, her drive and ambition motivate me to want to do more and be better. You couldn’t ask for a better person who knows and understands the ups and downs in life and is still willing to push you. She inspires me when she says the simplest thing like ‘I have an idea’ and will continue to give me the rundown. I can go on, but it will require 20 years or more.”

“A’Tiffa’s Mystery Adventure” is currently available for purchase on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.