Donna Cook has helped design publications for 13 years at Mennonite Press of Newton. She has also worked with colleges and self-publishing authors.
Recently, she joined the latter group. Her first book “What Am I Going to do Today ,” is fresh off the presses. A children's book, it is the first of what she wants to make a series of books for children — dubbed "The Adventures of Little Davis."
“It was exciting to do something on my own like this,” Cook said.
The book contains family elements — from the dedication to the creation of the main character in the book. Little Davis is patterned after her son, who now is an emergency medical worker in the Manhattan area.
Cook dedicated the book to her mother, a former teacher who as a single mother worked her way through school to get a teaching degree and survived a battle with cancer along the way. The book incorporates life lessons Cook's mother handed down.
“My mom taught me, if you can learn things in rhythm, you can remember them easier and your life will go better. That is how I wrote this book. It has a lot of rhyming to it and a lot of positive daily activity suggestions,” Cook said.
Cook will sign copies of her book from 10:30 to noon April 8 at Faith and Life Bookstore, 606 N Main St.
The lead character in the book, by design, looks like her son did at age four. The art for the book was hand drawn by Thomas Giebler, a student at Fort Hays. He was given photos of Cook's son for inspiration.
The book is split into three main sections — morning, afternoon and evening. Each section highlights 10 different activities for a child for each section.
“You can take this by sections, or you can do the whole book,” Cook said. “There are 72 pages, so for a little one it might be a little long.”
Cook has read the book to a three year old, an eight year old and a 12 year old. All seemed to do well with the book.
“I say it is targeted for toddler through first grade, but because of all the positive implications for daily activities, personal hygiene and interaction with other children and family time, it can be used for counseling for older children as well,” cook said.
So far, purchasers of the book have included parents of special needs children and counseling professionals. That was not the intended audience for the book, but one that seems to be coming forward.
“I was really pleased it could be used for that,” Cook said. “ … I did not do it with that in mind, that it would be a tool for counseling, but I am very excited it can be used liked that.”
The plan is to do a series of books — it is not clear what will come next. Ideas are a book about the adoption of her daughter followed by an “alphabetical occupations” book and a children's cookbook.