Peru, Nebraska – Dr. Kelly Kingsley, Associate Professor of Education at Peru State College, is proud to announce the release of her latest children’s book, A True Friend, published by Handersen Publishing on April 10th, 2023. 

Kingsley authored and illustrated A True Friend. The book is dedicated to Kingsley’s second grandson and tells the story of a boy and his toy monkey, Monk Monk. Monk Monk wants a friend and gets his wish when a little boy buys him from a store and teaches him about true friendship. Monk Monk is thankful for his new friend, as is the little boy who says his prayers and thanks God for Monk Monk. 

“When writing, it’s fun to tell a story,” said Kingsley, “and a challenge to take an idea and make it come alive. As for illustrating, I have drawn since I was old enough to hold a pencil. Putting what is in my head onto paper is relaxing and fun.” 

A True Friend is the second book Kingsley has authored and illustrated. Her first book, an alphabet book titled ABC Football: Our Day at the Game, was published by Handersen Publishing in 2020 and tells the story of a bunny and bear attending a football game. Kingsley wrote a format of the book while teaching third grade in Bellevue, Nebraska. She then completely rewrote it a few years later after receiving feedback from the editor to whom she had submitted the original. The book was dedicated to her first grandson; seeing it in print for the first time was an unforgettable experience. 

“When I first saw it in print,” said Kingsley, “it was surreal holding a book in my hand that I did.”  

Kingsley also illustrated a children’s book, How Rudy the Rooster Got His Voice. That book was written by Dr. Gina Bittner, Associate Professor of Education at Peru State, and published by Handerson Publishing in 2019. Bittner and Kingsley have used that book several times as a social-emotional tool to teach about perseverance. 

“Dr. Bittner and I go to elementary school classrooms and read books to the kids,” said Kingsley, “Rudy, ABC Football, and now we will also take True Friend.”  

Kingsley loves writing and illustrating; she is already working on ideas for her next book and will be illustrating a couple more books for Dr. Bittner. She is also deeply passionate about the work she does developing future educators at Peru State. Kingsley has been with Peru State since 2014 and teaches Elementary Language Arts, Differentiation and Integration, graduate classes, involvement with parents, and supervises practicum students and student teachers. 

“I still get excited whenever I step on campus,” said Kingsley. “To see teachers' excitement for their profession–it’s a thrill.”

Kingsley graduated from Kearney State College with a degree in Elementary Education with a minor in Art and completed her Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction through Doane College. She received her doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Nebraska as a member of the first class of the Carnegie Project. Her books, as well as Dr. Bittner’s book, are available on Amazon,, and elsewhere. 

Nestled in the hills of historic southeast Nebraska, Peru State College offers a mix of innovative online and traditional classroom undergraduate and graduate programs, including online graduate degrees in education and organizational management. 

Established in 1867 as Nebraska’s first college, Peru State has transformed over the past century and a half into a state-of-the-art institution offering diverse, multifaceted educational programs annually to nearly 2,000 students.