Ari Hallmark could be one of the most remarkable 7-year-olds you will ever meet. Somewhere between gymnastics and finishing up the first grade, she's managed to become an author.
"I like to read a lot," Ari tells us. "I just do it for the prizes, I don't really like to read that much."
What adds to Ari's remarkable story is the subject of her book, titled "To Heaven, After the Storm." On April 27th of last year, Ari, along with her mom and dad, Shane and Jennifer Hallmark, her grandparents, Phillip and Ann Hallmark and her two cousins, Jayden and Julie, sought shelter in a bathroom to ride out an EF-4 tornado that came through the Ruth community of Marshall County.
Her book talks about it all. "When we were in the bathroom," she says. "And when we were in the hospital. And when we got out of the hospital."
Only she and her cousin Julie survived. However, Ari says for a while, she joined her family members in Heaven. She describes in vivid detail seeing her father Shane, who had been bald all of her life, with hair.
She writes that, "my daddy did not have his glasses. And he did not have the marks where they were."
She says an angel came to her and told her it was time to go back. She says she then remembers waking up in a field near the house.
The proceeds from Ari's book will help a ministry for other children dealing with death. Her therapist suggested the idea.
"She's was like, 'Hey, let's make a book. And do it to help other kids'," Ari says.
The book will be published in July. You can pre-order a copy at Merchants Bank in Arab. The phone number is (256) 931-2705.