Tuscola, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – A Tuscola teacher never had the ‘traditional’ family growing up, but said she knew she was loved by more. Years later, she became part of another untraditional family, a blended family. She began to write her story 15+ years ago to help children in blended families acclimate but didn’t finish until just recently.

As the eldest of 34 grandchildren, Samantha Klein has always been a storyteller. She began by telling unique stories to her younger cousins to keep them entertained.

“I started out thinking I could sing to them, but I stunk horribly so it turned into telling stories,” said Klein.

Klein just finished her 24th year of teaching. Currently teaching at Winters ISD as an English teacher, she described herself as an educator, wife, mom, and grandmother.

More than 15 years ago, she began to write a children’s book inspired by her personal life. All the while, she stayed busy with teaching, tutoring.

The book was about her meeting her husband’s children for the first time. Her book shares the stories blended families deal with and the struggles they face. Before she could finish the book, she said she put her dream on pause to focus on being a mom.

“I spent my time playing with my kids and just enjoying my time with them when they were little,” Klein explained.

Now that her kids are adults, and she had the time to revisit her book, the story that’s been years in the making is finally coming to life. The book is titled The Stephens’ Stories: Our Changing Family.

“Every chapter has something about just a change that happens in real families, not just blended families. But, the beginning is more blended, and the rest is just any normal family changes that are hard on kids,” detailed Klein.

While merging two families can be difficult, Klein told KTAB/KRBC she hopes the book may inspire children dealing with similar situations as her family did years ago.

“Their problems are just as intense to them as our problems are to us,” Klein insisted. “Just being the oldest of a million grandchildren, a teacher, a mom, a grandma; I’ve learned that over the years, and so I thought, ‘I’m going to incorporate some of that in my book.'”

Working alongside Klein was science teacher Brittane Guerrero. She said she was thankful children can read a book about families that looks like theirs.

“More and more kids are going to have to understand that it’s important that they understand how those relationships work, and how they can get support from their community,” encouraged Guerrero.

Guerrero said she was excited for the students at Winters ISD to read the book. Meanwhile, Klein said she hopes the students can feel inspired that it’s never too late to accomplish your dreams.

Even though Klein said her family life had never been ‘traditional’ through being raised by grandparents, aunts, and uncles, she was excited to write this book for her family. Unfortunately, her grandparents who raised her were unable to see her success, and so Klein is immortalizing their memory by using their names throughout her book.

The title of her work was inspired by her grandmother’s maiden name, Stephens. Plus, a quote her grandfather always said growing up, that she now uses on her children and students, is printed on paper.

“He would always say, ‘don’t make excuses, make something happen,’ and that’s a quote on the little dedication part,” Klein beamed.

Klein told KTAB/KRBC her time to be author wasn’t all those years ago when she first began writing, but her time is now. The Stephens’ Stories: Our Changing Family is expected to be released this summer, and she’s eager to have a copy in her classroom this fall. As for the future, she said she plans to write more books, and is even thinking of a collaboration with her daughter.