Photo by Chaunce Shrewsbury: Author and Eatonville High School mental health counselor Ann Malver, left, and illustrator, local resident and college student Petra Cole hold their recent publication, 'My Safe Place.'
Photo by Chaunce Shrewsbury: Author and Eatonville High School mental health counselor Ann Malver, left, and illustrator, local resident and college student Petra Cole hold their recent publication, 'My Safe Place.'

With over 10 years of counseling Eatonville High School students with their mental health and her own experiences from which to draw, Anne Malver has recently published two books to help children recognize and prevent abuse, teach response skills and promote healing in children and adults.

Malver released her first book in 2018 and her second book this year. Malver has been motivated as an author and counselor by her own past, including being orphaned at 9 and abused emotionally, physically and sexually for several years. Malver said she had the support and resilience to heal but considers herself lucky and wants to help those who may not be so fortunate.

“My hope is, my intention with writing and writing books for therapists and parents and anybody who loves a child, is to help prevent harm and to teach skills to kids to be able to prevent bad things from happening,” Malver said.

Malver was born in Harlem in Manhattan, New York City and lived there until her father passed away when she was young. She and her mother then moved to Las Angeles and lived with her grandparents. Her mother committed suicide when Malver was 9. After her mother's death, Malver began taking gymnastics classes and competing competitively. The gym was supposed to be a safe place away from the trauma she had already endured.

Instead Malver and many others were sexually abused while competing for USA Gymnastics. In 2017, former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar was convicted of sexually abusing hundreds of girls under the guise of performing osteopathic health care. Malver was sexually abused by someone else in the organization around the same time. Malver said when she finally realized how evil the situation was, she spoke up and left.

Despite the difficulties, Malver graduated high school, went on to college and graduated from the University of Oregon. Afterward, she went to Arizona to begin a master’s degree in exercise physiology. She dreamt of traveling the world, however.

During her stint in Arizona, Malver was in a terrible accident with a large truck. After three weeks of recovery, Malver decided that was the time to do something. She checked out of her master’s program and used the $10,000 check her insurance gave her from the accident to a fund a round-the-world plane ticket.

Malver fell in love with the Himalayas and lived there off and on for 10 years where she led treks. During the other part of the year, she worked on Mount Rainier and she met her husband. Malver returned to the Himalayas to hike the north peak of Mount Everest but came back and got married.

She said she has been married for almost 26 years and has two children.

“I have an incredible life,” Malver said.

Although obtaining a master’s degree in psychology in 1993, Malver decided to work a simpler job for several years while her children were young. When her son was 6, Malver volunteered with her dog at the Eatonville School District to help children read but soon after began working full time as a counselor, which she has done ever since.

Through Malver’s career, she has tackled things that were impacted by her past. She fought to pass a bill in 2013, testifying before the Washington state Senate, to increase the statue of limitations on sexual abuse crimes. The bill failed but has since been changed in favor of victims. In 2018, she was recognized by the Global Sports Development Foundation as a survivor of the USA Gymnastics sex scandal and for the work she does in the Eatonville School District.

Malver wrote her first book, “My Yucky Feeling,” on a plane ride home from the Global Sports Development Foundation. She said she felt more healing after the foundation recognition event, and the timing felt right for her book. The book is “very simple, but very powerful,” Malver said.

“This book is a total conversation opener about abuse — especially sexual abuse cases, which are very hard conversations to have,” she said. “It’s designed to keep children safe from harm.”

Her first book was illustrated by her brother-in-law, Craig Morgan, an architect in Washington D.C. Her second book, written this year, was illustrated by Petra Cole, a local resident and Washington State University student who grew up with her daughter. The new book is titled “My Safe Place.”

“This book is for parents, grandparents and anyone who loves a child,” Malver said. “The book can be used to teach kids how to calm themselves down, how to teach [children to] self-regulate, how to find that place inside yourself of inner calm and peace.”

Malver said she has 32 journals of notes at home for additional book ideas. She also hopes to write a memoire of her adventures, experiences and what she has had to overcome. Although a survivor of mental anguish, Malver has also survived typhoid fever, hepatitis and pneumonia in the Himalayas. She is also a cancer survivor.

Malver said she is grateful for life and is hopeful she can help children overcome their struggles.

Malver’s books can be found on her website, and she can be contacted at https://annemalver.com/.