By Ris Twigg
Sue Hougland always wanted to write a children’s book, and it wasn’t until her 28-year teaching career ended that she finally achieved that dream.
It took her and her husband, John Hougland, who worked with the publisher on behalf of his wife, three years to publish “Jenny’s Adventures,” a three-part book about the couple’s rescue dog, Jenny.
“We went to Florida and John was playing golf a lot, and I was bored,” Sue Hougland said. “This was the perfect time to write a book…I spend more time with my dog than I do with anyone else, so why not write about the dog?”
Hougland wrote the book from Jenny’s perspective as a dog as a way to interest more kids in the story.
The first part of “Jenny’s Adventure” takes the reader through Jenny’s first-hand experience as rescue dog trying to find a new home. During the second part, Jenny meets an alligator during one of the couple’s trips to Florida.
“The last part of the book is about meeting elementary students and showing them how you can still function even though you have a disability,” Sue Hougland said.
For 20 of her teaching years, Hougland taught special education at Groveport Madison Schools. Many of her experiences working alongside children with learning disabilities helped shape the third part of her first children’s book, she said.
Also peppered into “Jenny’s Adventures” are teachable points like looking both ways before crossing the street.
The book, which is available for purchase through the Houglands or on Amazon, is geared for third graders and up, but adults can read the book to younger kids, Sue Hougland said.
“And, a lot of adults that have read it have commented back that they’ve enjoyed it too,” John Hougland said.
John Hougland worked with Biblio Publishing from Columbus to organize corrections, drafts and comments for “Jenny’s Adventures,” which was published in September 2019. The couple said finding a publisher was the most difficult part of the process, but added that working with Biblio was extremely easy.
“Most of the places were self-publishing companies and wanted anywhere from $2,000 to $3,000 to take the book and publish,” John Hougland said. “Biblio on the other hand accepted it and published it and charges us for the books that we buy and those that are sold on Amazon.”
Sue Hougland said that, although publishing her first book was scary, she’s ultimately “proud” and “overwhelmed” by the support for the book. She’s even started working on a sequel, “Jenny Meets Lucy.”
“The book sells for $5. This is so you can put the book in the kids’ hands. I didn’t make this book to make money,” Sue Hougland said. “I wrote it to do something enjoyable—something I hope the kids would like.”