By Jonathan Streetman
Juniper French received one M&M for every book she signed Sunday afternoon inside the Barnes and Noble bookstore.
Several of her friends were there, and she really just wanted to visit and play. But the 5-year-old was the girl of the hour, so her mom bribed her with candy to keep her hanging around the table.
The kindergartner and her parents, Thomas and Kelley French, were at Barnes and Noble for a signing of their recently released book, “Juniper: The Girl Who Was Born Too Soon.”
Kelley, an award-winning journalist and professor of practice at the Indiana University Media School, co-wrote the memoir with her Pulitzer-prize winning husband and fellow professor of practice, Tom, about their daughter who was born prematurely at 23 weeks gestation.
At her birth, Juniper weighed 1 pound, 4 ounces, and was the size of a Barbie doll. Her beating heart was visible through her translucent skin.
“Premature babies like Juniper, born at the edge of viability, trigger the question: Which is the greater act of love — to save her, or to let her go?,” the book’s dust jacket reads.
“Juniper” chronicles the Frenches’ life after the birth, fighting to save Juniper’s life and the bonds created between the three of them because of their journey.
On Sunday, a vibrant “June Bug” bounced around the bookstore while Tom and Kelley visited with friends while signing copies of the book.