Kathy Maggart (right) and Kathie Eidson (left), co-authors of The 1947 Freedom Train

Kathy Maggart (right) and Kathie Eidson (left)

Kathie Eidson

Co-Author, The 1947 Freedom Train

Although The 1947 Freedom Train marks Kathie Eidson’s debut as a children’s book writer, she has been honing her skills as an insightful, visual storyteller over the past ten years through songwriting. Even before that, writing has been a natural part of her life. I started writing poetry at a young age and this transitioned easily to songwriting, says Eidson, a native of Auburn, Alabama who embarked on her songwriting career while homeschooling her four children. Her friendship and eventual collaboration with co-author Kathy Maggart grew out of the songwriting she’s done with Kathy’s husband Tim—whom Kathie originally met in a Nashville Songwriter’s Association International (NSAI) workshop.

I am so honored and blessed for this opportunity to write a children’s book with my good friend and talented co-author. Every writing session we had, was filled with lots of fun, laughter, (snacks), hard work—and much appreciation for each other’s writing and teaching gifts. It has been a great journey. Through a combination of words, art, and teamwork—we wanted to make sure we brought this beautiful patriotic piece of history to life for children to enjoy, and learn about their freedoms. In addition, we hope all ages, parents, grandparents, educators, will love and learn about this great story of our American history.

As part of the multi-media activities that the authors are providing in association with The 1947 Freedom Train, they will create downloadable songs related to the story—starting with the first song they wrote called “Freedom Train for Kids.” They will also put music tracks and Garage Band type tools on the website that kids can use to write their own Freedom Train-themed lyrics. We both want to always strive to make learning fun, says Eidson.

Growing up in Auburn in a family of five kids, Kathie eagerly learned about American history from her father Bobby Freeman, who in addition to being a pro football player and later a football coach at Auburn, was a major history buff. This influenced Kathie, and she also developed a passion for history herself. Kathie later went on to Auburn University where she received her degree in general Psychology and minored in art.

Kathie’s professional resume is very diverse. She worked as a real estate agent at Freeman Real Estate in Auburn, then later worked in retail clothing and started her own business, the Eidson Design Company, in Atlanta. She designed clothes, which she sold to small boutiques throughout the area. Eventually she moved with her family back to Auburn, and then began her songwriting endeavors.

Kathie treasured her time homeschooling her children—son Chase (now 23) and daughters Morgan (22), Audrey (19) and Riley (17)—these years taught her many things about making learning fun, creative and personalized. One of the benefits to home schooling has been the opportunity to change things up so that they match each of my kids’ different learning styles, she says. Whether they responded more to a linguistic or mathematical approach, I was able to teach it differently. We all had a wonderful time learning. My homeschooling and songwriting experience has helped me in the process of writing the book.

Kathie brings an array of songwriting accolades to her new partnership. In addition to having songs recorded by independent artists in the pop, country, gospel and country Christian genres, she has placed 2nd twice, and received “honorable mentions” in the lyric contest of American Songwriter Magazine. Her country Christian songs have earned her two 1st place prizes in the ICM Song Contest affiliated with Power Source Christian magazine. Kathie also won an honorable mention in the CMA/NSAI Songwriter Contest in 2011 and appeared on the Top 40 music page of NSAI in 2013. Also in 2013, she appeared as a guest on “Minstrels on the Block” in Phenix City, Alabama.

I have always enjoyed being creative in a lot of different ways, whether as a home school teacher, clothing designer or songwriter, Kathie says. Co-authoring The 1947 Freedom Train and its associated activities has allowed me to take that creativity to a whole new and exciting level. I’m a very patriotic person, and am very grateful for the freedoms we have and to our military men and women for ensuring that we will always have those. The ‘Freedom Train’ story is one that should never be lost to history. It’s wonderful to have the opportunity to pass this passion on and get kids excited about our country’s history. We want them to be as passionate and inspired as we are and to know that they live in a country where they can pursue their dreams.