Story of Unique Dollar Billy

Local author imagines a dollar bill with personality.

“This collection of children’s short stories revolves around a one-dollar bill named Unique Dollar Billy (UDB) who lives with several families (in wallets, purses, and pockets) as he experiences what life has to offer …. The character of UDB will engage children’s imaginations and minds as they read his stories. It will bring his experiences to life for readers as they wonder where and how a dollar bill travels in this world.”

So reads the introduction to “The Adventures of Unique Dollar Billy,” the children’s book just published by Potomac author Sea Kay.

Sea Kay, real name Chitra Krishnamurti, retired in 2016 as a program director at National Institutes of Health. Though she still teaches traditional Indian Dance, she found herself thinking she would like to write a children’s book.

“My dream is to make the children laugh out loud and use their imaginations while learning some important lessons in life,” Sea Kay said.

At a book launch party for family and friends at her home Sunday, March 10, she explained how the book came to be.

“I never thought I’d ever write a book,” she said. “I just started writing at random.”

And her first book was born. First book to be sure, she said, as she is well into another series of Unique Dollar Billy stories.

While she was writing, she was also dealing with the illness and death of her mother.

“They say a lot of creativity comes from difficulty,” she said.

And, while sharing her stories with her mother, she learned that she had a grandfather who was a well-known journalist of his time. So maybe writing was in her genes after all, she said.

Sea Kay shared her stories with many of her dance students who ended up being junior editors and illustrators for her book.

“The journey has been really interesting because of these girls,” Sea Kay said.

Namya Nanda, 15, was an editor along with Viha Chakrapani, 14, and Taameen Mohammad, 21. Anunshka Tandon, 15, Juhi Dhanesha, 20, Anika Raghavan, 26 and Saveena Simrun, 21, all did the illustrations. Raghaven also designed the front cover of the book.

The girls said they worked on the project since last spring and are ready and excited that there is a second book in the works.

“I’m very excited about working on the second book,” Anushka said. “Before I didn’t know how many drawings I’d be doing, so I just sketched on scraps of paper. For book two I have a new sketch book and I got new pens. I’m super pumped.”

Having worked on the book for so long, each of the girls has at one or two favorite stories about UDB.

Namya said she loved all the stories, but “UDB Becomes a Foreigner” was probably her favorite.

“I loved it because it is about acceptance,” she said. “I think it is cool that kids will read it and learn to accept themselves.”

Viha liked “UDB Plays in the Snow.”

“UDB is with a family in the snow,” she said. “It’s a warm story and I love snow days.”

To learn more about “The Adventures of Unique Dollar Bill,” visit uniquedollarbilly.com.

Potomac Library will host Sea Kay for a reading of “The Adventures of Unique Dollar Billy” at 11 a.m. Saturday, April 20. She will also be available to answer questions about her writing process and sign copies of the book. For more information call 240-777-0690.

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