Published: Feb 08, 2012 02:00 AM
Modified: Feb 04, 2012 10:25 AM
The journey to a published children's book began when Tracy Spaine's 8-year-old son was reluctant to move to North Carolina. To soothe his anxiety, Spaine and her husband got him a golden retriever, which he named Hurricane. When events happened in their day-to-day life, Spaine began voicing the dog's thoughts. The result was "Life Through the Eyes of a Hurricane Doggie-Dog!"
Spaine, a special-education teacher for 30 years who teaches at Holly Grove Elementary School in Holly Springs, hopes children and teachers everywhere can enjoy the family dog's insights.Q: How did the thoughts you expressed about your dog lead to a children's book?
I started telling stories about how Hurricane would feel so that my son could understand and empathize with another creature's feelings. People would encourage me to write them down. I started writing the stories in my blog. When I first began looking into publishing, I thought, "If it works, great. If it doesn't, fine."
The whole process has been an odyssey.Q: What age group did you target when you put the stories in book form?
My target is elementary classroom teachers who use books for read-aloud and vocabulary enrichment.
At my book signing, teachers who plan to use my book as a read-aloud can put their names in a drawing so that Hurricane and I can come to visit. Children think Hurricane is so cool.
The best part about the book is that it is a book for all ages, like a Disney movie. There are things over kids' heads but that adults will get right away.Q: Why do animals work so well as a teaching tool?
Kids see animals as creatures they can take care of and learn from. The lessons taken from an animal are more powerful than when parents try to tell a child something. Writers can use animals to portray human characteristics, and it helps children develop compassion and empathy.Q: What has the response been like so far?
One of my favorite reactions has been from one of our custodians here at Holly Grove. She is from Russia and has two sons. I gave her a book as a gift.
She told me that although there is a language barrier for her, and she doesn't get all of the humor, her boys do. She said her fourth-grader now wants to be a writer because he finally sees something he can relate to.