Eleanor Brooks, of Atlantic City, grew up in a tough neighborhood in New York City, she said. But she had an escape.

"We would come to Atlantic City every summer," she said of her family of singers, dancers and visual artists. "It was so carefree for me here by the beach."

So when her daughter Sandrina, 11, a sixth-grader at Richmond Avenue School, asked Eleanor to write an adventure story with Sandrina as the hero, she knew what to do.

"I had the ocean to inspire me," the former dance teacher said.

The result is "Sandcastle Dreams," a mermaid story for 8- to12-year-old girls, published last month by Peter Glaze of Elementary Studio Publishing as an ebook on Kindle.

In the book, a young girl travels through a magical sandcastle and learns she is the key to saving an underwater mermaid kingdom, Eleanor said.

"I wanted it to be an old-fashioned fairy tale in the tradition of Hans Christian Anderson, but this is more for children," she said. "His is tragic."

She said Sandrina read it in installments, and encouraged Eleanor to keep going. The mermaid on the cover resembles Sandrina and was painted by Eleanor's sister, Kate Rivingston, of Lansdowne, Pa.

Eleanor is married to Atlantic City Fire Chief Dennis Brooks and also has a step-daughter, Taylor, 16, a junior at Atlantic City High School.

Mathematical Mayhem

Oackcrest High School senior Amber Kell, 17, of Mays Landing, won the The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey's Mathematical Mayhem competition March 23. Oakcrest senior Nick Murphy, 18, of Mays Landing, placed second, and Atlantic County Institute of Technology junior Matthew Schwenger, 17, of Buena Borough, placed third.

ACIT won the group competition with a team of Schwenger and juniors Amber Evans, of Hammonton, and Stanimir Genov, of Ventnor.

Oakcrest High School's team of Mays Landing seniors George Scheider, 18, Keith Yiu, 17, and Murphy placed second. Ocean City High School's team of DJ Gilhooley, a senior from Ocean City, Carolyn Previti, a junior from Seaville in Upper Township, and Ben Colbert, a senior from Seaville, came in third.

Council honors ACCC

The National Council for Marketing and Public Relations awarded a Silver Paragon to Atlantic Cape Community College at its national conference in Chicago recently. The college received the award for the 2012 Atlantic Cape Restaurant Gala public relations plan and media coverage.

Chelsea Pizzi, of Pitman, Glocuester County, public relations and social media specialist at Atlantic Cape, prepared the winning entry. Kathy J. Corbalis, of Mays Landing, was elected council vice president/president-elect.

Contact Michelle Brunetti Post:

609-272-7219