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The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

Alumna expresses love for San Marcos in new children’s book


The cover of Kelly Stone’s book “Goodnight San Marcos” illustrated by Rayah Jaymes.

There are many things to love about San Marcos. The lush waters of the river, the mystical mermaid culture and the beautiful campus Texas State students call home. For comedian, author and Texas State alumna Kelly Stone, all of this inspired her to write her first children’s book, “Goodnight San Marcos,” about the things that make San Marcos a one-of-a-kind city.
It all started when Stone wanted to buy her kids a souvenir during a trip to New Orleans in 2010. Instead of the typical snow globe or toy, she opted for a children’s book titled “Goodnight NOLA.” Since then, it has been a tradition for her to grab a book for her kids any time she travels out of town.
“I was like ‘you know what? I’m going to buy a children’s book for my kids every time I travel’ and that’s what I did,” Stone said. “I’ve got tons of books from lots of cities on my bookshelf.”
Upon her return home to San Marcos from a trip, Stone was on the hunt for a children’s book about the Texas town she loved so much. Her love for the city began in 1994 after attending cheerleading camp and later moving here to attend Southwest Texas State University in 1996.
In hopes of teaching her two young sons about San Marcos, she was out of luck as there were few to no children’s books about San Marcos at all. This fact fueled her idea to write “Goodnight San Marcos” in 2010.
Although Stone never thought she would become a children’s book author, her sons’ love of reading inspired her to begin her writing journey. Her first book “Mom, What is the Opposite of Guacamole?” was published in April 2021 and is filled with hilarious and thought-provoking questions and quotes from her two boys, Mayne and Denly Stone.
The boys have fond memories of their mom bringing home souvenirs to read. The books she bought made them want to travel more, especially to New Orleans after reading “Goodnight NOLA.”
Published in May, “Goodnight San Marcos” is a children’s book written in a similar style to the classic story “Goodnight Moon” by Margaret Wise Brown. Readers of Stone’s book say “goodnight” to well-known places, items and symbols of San Marcos.
It took 12 years for the book to come to life and land on the bookshelves of homes in Texas and across the country. When she began the process in 2010, Stone was on the hunt for an illustrator who could help her dreams become reality. After some trial and error with previous illustrators, she was in dire need of an artist. It was a stressful time for Stone as she recalls the feeling of going from one illustrator to another.
“I was at my wit’s end,” Stone said. “I just wanted to get the book done. I even considered looking into Fiverr.”
A close friend of Stone named Nix Nova knew about “Goodnight San Marcos” early on in the process after meeting her in 2011 while Stone was doing stand-up comedy in the San Marcos area. Nix witnessed how hard it was to put the pieces of the puzzle together in order for Stone’s book to be ready and published.
“[Stone] paid illustrators to illustrate and in the end not be able to use those drawings for multiple reasons,” Nix said. “It was pretty unfortunate.”
Stone posted a Craigslist ad in 2015 to which many artists responded, including Rayah Jaymes. Stone wanted an illustrator who was familiar with San Marcos and who could capture the culture of the vibrant city. Luckily, Jaymes fit the part. Stone said it was a long saga to get to Jaymes, but it was well worth it in the end.
Jaymes has always been drawing and creating since they were young. When they got older, they pursued a job in the culinary field for 12 years until they realized their true calling for art. Since leaving their job as a chef, Jaymes has illustrated 15 children’s books and is very fond of “Goodnight San Marcos” because of the history they have with the city.
“As a San Antonian who has spent plenty of time in San Marcos, I was excited about telling the story of one of my beloved Hill Country cities,” Jaymes said.
Jaymes worked on several rough drafts until they said they came to the realization that they wanted the San Marcos River to be incorporated into the book. With their simplified color palette, they illustrated the river to flow in and out of each page turn.
When she was selling copies of her first book “Mom, What is the Opposite of Guacamole?” Stone was teasing her upcoming book “Goodnight San Marcos.” The owners of Gil’s saw a glimpse of a Manske roll illustration and wanted to celebrate the book release by hosting a book signing for her.
Stone said she appreciates all the support “Goodnight San Marcos” has received.
“The local businesses have really shown great support,” Stone said. “It’s pretty amazing, and there will be more parties to come for sure.”
“Goodnight San Marcos” highlights the color and life of a city that is colorful and lively. Mayne and Denly are happy that there is a book that kids can read to learn about San Marcos. From bookshelves in New Mexico, Alabama and all over Texas, “Goodnight San Marcos” has taken off. Nix believes that the book can resonate with anyone that has a love for San Marcos.
“San Marcos is a town that captures your heart,” Nix said. “We’re unique, and there’s something powerful about being able to share that in book form.”
Stone is proud of making her dream become a reality and finally having a book about San Marcos that is intergenerational. There is an appendix at the back of the book which she hopes readers of all ages can use to learn something new about San Marcos while they take in the book’s elaborate illustrations and detail.
“I want the readers to be stimulated in their curiosity to learn more about San Marcos,” Stone said. “To feel nostalgic and to feel love.”
To purchase “Goodnight San Marcos”, visit Kelly Stone’s website at https://kellystone.org. Keep up with Stone on Facebook @funnykelly and Instagram @kellystonecomedy.

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  • Kelly Stone holds her book tight at Showdown in San Marcos, Texas.

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