posted September 20, 2004

Children's Book Features Canine Heroes

A new children's book co-authored by Dr. Heather Sellers of the Hope College English faculty features two real-life canine protagonists in a fictional tale.

Sellers and author/illustrator Amy Young of Spring Lake have written "Spike and Cubby's Ice Cream Island Adventure!," published by Henry Holt and Company of New York City. The title characters are Young's black lab, Spike, who is an artist in the book, and Sellers's corgi Cubby Jones, who writes the books that Spike illustrates.

In the story, Spike and Cubby go sailing on Torch Lake, and find themselves in the midst of a terrible summer storm. Their creativity saves the day and they earn the best reward of all: superb ice cream sundaes.

The book's publication will be celebrated with a kick-off party to benefit local dogs on Saturday, Oct. 9, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Harbor Humane Society. The public is invited, and admission is free. Children are encouraged to stop by and greet the artists, while learning about adopting and caring for dogs.During the debut event, visitors can participate in a drawing workshop with Young, and Sellers will read from the book. Children who want to write will be able to work on the spot with Sellers, who teaches creative writing at the college.

Spike and Cubby artwork proceeds and donations will go to the humane society. In addition, Grand Haven's "The Bookman" will have copies of the book for sale, with a portion of the proceeds going directly to the Harbor Humane Society.

Both of the title dogs themselves benefited from the services of adoptive agencies. Spike was adopted from a humane society, and Cubby was adopted through the Lakeshore Pembroke Welsh Corgi rescue association.

Sellers has been a member of the Hope faculty since 1995, and is an associate professor of English. In addition to teaching, she serves as advisor to the student-published "Opus" literary magazine and as co-coordinator of the college's Visiting Writers Series.

Her stories and poems have been published in many journals and magazines, including "New Stories from the South," "Five Points," "Alaska Quarterly Review" and "Sonora Review," and have received numerous awards and honors. She won an Academy of American Poets Award in 1992.

Sellers was one of only 41 writers nationally to receive a National Endowment for the Arts grant for 2000-02 to create original work or translate work. The collection of stories that she completed through the grant, "Georgia Under Water," was named a finalist in the 2002 "Paterson Fiction Prize" competition and in 2001 was recognized in the "Discover Great New Writers" program of Barnes & Noble bookstores.

Her publications also include "Drinking Girls and Their Dresses," which is a book of poetry, and "Never Told Me," a collection of stories. She is currently working on a novel, "The Plain and Simple Truth," a sequel to "Georgia Under Water."

The Harbor Humane Society is located at 14345 Bagley St., at U.S. 31 in West Olive.