Book Feature: The Red Oak Rocking Chair by Nelibeth Plaza

by | Mar 13, 2021 | Book Feature | 0 comments

The Red Oak Rocking Chair is a children’s picture book by Nelibeth Plaza.

Nelibeth Plaza is known for her 2020 Christmas children’s illustrated book, Is It Santa? Today, ReadersMagnet will feature a book that Nelibeth wrote and published two years earlier. The book is entitled The Red Oak Rocking Chair.

The Red Oak Rocking Chair

The Red Oak Rocking Chair is a children’s picture storybook by Nelibeth Plaza. It was published last May 2018. Compared to her other book, Is It Santa?, The Red Oak Rocking Chair is more of a personal story about the family’s red oak rocking chair. It was brought to the family home one Christmas by Roberto. The story is told from the point of view of the red oak rocking chair.

The chair begins the old-fashion tale by introducing its origin. The chair is from South Missouri. It was built with care and treated with kindness and respect by its maker, woodshop owner, Mr. Thompson. The chair explains that it has been with the four generations in the family. For many years, different family members have enjoyed rocking on it. The chair, however, makes it perfectly clear that the latest addition to the family is its most favorite- Mya.

The story continues with the chair narrating about Mya’s life as an infant and how the family members take turns being rocked by the red oak chair carrying Mya. Family members would read and sing to her, experiencing teething and other rites of babyhood. The red oak chair even recalls one terrible, “pungent” smell- poop. It also remembers enjoying family meals.

“However, I am a bit rickety now, for I’ve been through four generations: Great-Grandma Anna, Grandma Nelly, Mother Rebekkah, and finally, Baby My. Mya is my favorite. I have always regarded her to be my preference because ‘Everyone!’ rocked on me with Mya.” – excerpt from the book.

As time goes by and family members age, the red oak rocking chair finds itself alone. Even her favorite Mya has to leave the chair behind for college. The tale ends with the chair telling itself that, “If I had tears, I know I would cry, and if I had lips, I would kiss Mya goodbye.”

“What makes a rocking chair so appealing for rocking? People rock for comfort, fun, relaxation, pleasure, or rest, so there must be something special about a rocking chair. In her book, author Nelibeth Plaza tells the story of one particular rocking chair that shares surprising, heartwarming, joyful, and sorrowful details of a family. A handcrafted, wooden rocking chair intended for giving comfort and pleasure to others goes on its own journey of love, joy, discomfort, excitement, pleasure, and pain as a new baby comes into the family. As it first rocks the baby and then witnesses her grow up, the red oak rocking chair gives readers details of each sensation, from stinky diaper smells to being bitten by the baby’s incoming teeth! Along with the excitement, joys, and laughter of a baby and exploring toddler are the bittersweet times of detachment when a child must all too soon grow up and begin her own journey into the world. The Red Oak Rocking Chair provides a unique perspective on life and love.” (book description)

The inspiration for the book came after Nelibeth got into an accident in 2015. The injury required her to be in a wheelchair and undergo therapy. One afternoon, after a physical therapy session, Nelly came across a photo of an old rocking chair that belonged to the family for over 50 years. The red rocking chair has witnessed many of their family’s joys, celebrations, and not-so-happy moments. Nelibeth Plaza then decided to pay tribute to that chair and to her family. Thus, it became the inspiration for her first book, The Red Oak Rocking Chair. 

Other Books by Nelibeth Plaza

Is It Santa? (2020)

Two years after she published her first book, Nelibeth Plaza released another children’s illustrated book. Is It Santa is a heartwarming short story about a family working together to solve the Christmas mystery of the freshly baked cookies found scattered on the kitchen counters and living room and on the tables and sofa. As the family imagines Santa’s unbelievable scene on Nelibeth’s book, the ending will totally shock the readers in a cute and funny way. Reading, Is It Santa? is a story for Christmas gatherings and is something that children will surely enjoy.

About Nelibeth Plaza

Nelibeth Plaza is a retired teacher. Plaza taught for twenty-seven years as an elementary teacher in the New York City Department of Education. She also served as an assistant principal before retiring in 2019. Nelibeth Plaza has two daughters, Rebekah and Elizabeth. Plaza is blessed with three loving grandchildren- Mya, Charlie, and Jacob. Her daughters and grandchildren are all featured in her books.


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