Miss Paula’s new book tells ‘Six-String Stories’

By: Maria Allard | Warren Weekly | Published October 12, 2021

 Singer/songwriter/guitarist Paula Messner, also known as Miss Paula, a Warren native and 1981 Lincoln High School graduate, just released her first children’s book, “Miss Paula’s Six-String Stories.” Miss Paula will rock audience members during a show  Oct. 29 at the Center Line Public Library.

Singer/songwriter/guitarist Paula Messner, also known as Miss Paula, a Warren native and 1981 Lincoln High School graduate, just released her first children’s book, “Miss Paula’s Six-String Stories.” Miss Paula will rock audience members during a show Oct. 29 at the Center Line Public Library.

Photo by Becca Messner

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CENTER LINE — “Catching Up With Alumni” highlights the accomplishments of local high school graduates. In this issue, the spotlight falls on 1981 Lincoln High School graduate Paula Messner.

Miss Paula will let the music do the talking when she brings her solo rock ‘n’ roll show to the Center Line Public Library for a Halloween concert from 6 to 7 p.m. Oct. 29.

The local musician will plug in her electric guitar to perform her distinctive style of rock music geared toward children, something she has been doing for the last 20 years. To register for the show, visit www.centerline.gov/202/Library or call (586) 758-8274.

With a guitar case full of original songs she has written throughout her career, Miss Paula recently published her first children’s book, “Miss Paula’s Six-String Stories.” The book, which she described as “full of songs that are mini stories,” allows children to rock and read at the same time. The book’s artwork is by Marty Blackwell.

“During COVID I had been having this book idea in the back of my head,” said Miss Paula, a Warren native who graduated from Lincoln High School in 1981. “I got an illustrator and made it happen.”

With the new hardcover book, Paula Messner, who is known professionally as Miss Paula, hopes to inspire “anyone that can play an instrument” to take out the sheet music and start playing her songs. “Miss Paula’s Six-String Stories” is also designed to “inspire kids to pick up an instrument” for the first time or just “appreciate music.” “Miss Paula’s Six-String Stories” includes a list of songs fans can download.

“You can listen to the music, dance, sing along or play along,” said Miss Paula, who writes about all things that matter to kids: Barbie, race cars, dinosaurs, pizza, “Simon Says,” outer space and marshmallows. The musician even ends the book with a list of discussion questions, similar to those in a book club. The hardcover is geared toward children ages 3-12, but any age can enjoy it.

“As adults, we were all kids once,” Miss Paula pointed out.

The guitar player started writing rock ‘n’ roll children’s music when her two daughters Charlotte and Becca were toddlers. Now they are 21 and 23.    

“When my kids were little, I couldn’t find any children’s music I liked,” the singer/songwriter said.

So the music maker began writing her own rock songs for kids. Pretty soon, she had a group together — The Candy Band — that drew crowds at local festivals, libraries and schools with their unique rock ‘n’ roll children’s songs. The four members proved moms could keep a beat as they often transformed nursery rhymes into punk rock anthems. “The Birthday Song” was one of their memorable ditties.

The Candy Band is no longer together, but for many years they drew a solid following. Huntington Woods resident Joyce Krom and her two children Emma, 19, and Cosmo, 15, were fans of the Candy Band when the children were younger.

“We were sort of groupies,” Krom said. “We came across them at a library show. We started following them around at different shows. They played every summer at the Detroit Zoo and different festivals.

“It wasn’t the usual kid’s music,” said Krom, a youth services librarian at the Mount Clemens Public Library. “It sounded like rock music. The children could relate to the lyrics.”

Krom has known Miss Paula for about 20 years and purchased two copies of “Miss Paula’s Six-String Stories,” one for her and one for the library.

“The thing that I really love about Paula is that you can tell she generally enjoys performing for kids,” Krom said. “She’s so interactive. She really engages the kids. They just relate to her.”

Miss Paula, the youngest of five children whose siblings were much older, got started in music when she was in the sixth grade. It was her mom’s idea for her to play the clarinet.

“It wasn’t working for me,” Miss Paula remembered. She tried piano and then guitar. “It stuck.”

Miss Paula eventually joined a folk group that played at the now-closed St. Dorothy Catholic Church.

“Then I discovered rock ‘n’ roll. Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple,” she said. People weren’t always supportive though. “Back then there weren’t girls playing guitar.”

But she kept doing what she loved: performing. At age 17, she joined her first band, The Roommates. The six-stringer also was a member of two other local bands: the Motor Dolls and the Vertical Pillows.

Sharing her passion with others, Miss Paula teaches guitar lessons to students of all ages. One of her pupils is an elderly woman who always wanted to learn guitar.

“It’s never too late,” she said.

For more information on Miss Paula and “Miss Paula’s Six-String Stories,” visit the website store and performance calendar at www.misspaulamusic.com. Contact her at paulamessner@yahoo.com.

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