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Springtime from A to Z

For the majority of her life, Dodie Sparks has been surrounded by children.

As a teenager, the California native taught swimming lessons to elementary school students, then she began a teaching and counseling career that spanned several decades. Sparks owned and operated a preschool and day care, along with her husband, Duke.

“All my life, I worked with children,” said Sparks, who retired to Sequim with Duke in 1995. “I always said, ‘I’d sure like to write a children’s story,’ but I never had the time.”

Sparks saw her lifelong dream come true with “Spring ABCs,” a “lyrical explanation of spring” from A to Z, based on a poem she penned several years ago.

“I wrote the poem ‘Spring ABCs’ many years ago and I didn’t like it,” Sparks remembered. “So I put it away for several years and came back to it.”

In the meantime, Sparks decided to write a memoir, not to publish but to give to her children.

“I lost my mother to cancer in 1985 and realized how little I knew about her life,” Sparks said of her inspiration.

Sparks was busy writing the memoir three years ago when she stumbled upon the poem once again. With a new confidence in her writing, Sparks revised the poem and showed it to Duke.

“He read it and said, ‘This is really good … who wrote it?’” Sparks recalled, laughing.

Sparks sent it to her eldest son, songwriter Jeff and his wife Assia, a freelance writer, in California.

“They said it would make a really good children’s story,” Sparks said. “That got me thinking.”

Sparks teamed up with friend and fellow Sequimite Bob Thompson, an oil painter, and put together the book.

“We worked together on it,” Sparks said. “I wanted as much vibrant color as I could have. I thought he did an excellent job.”

The book, which Sparks dedicated to her five grandchildren, has colorful pictures on each page from “A is for apple blossom” to “Z is for Zoo.” Sparks said the book is relevant for several of her grandchildren, who range in age from 3 to 25.

“I think it’s for kids from preschool through primary school,” Sparks said. “When children are little, they love the pictures. When they are a little older, they pick up on the alphabet, and as they start learning to read, they can actually read the whole thing.”

Sparks also has spoken to several groups in Sequim about writing and her book, including a group at The Lodge at Sherwood Village.

“My purpose is to let other people know that if they want to do something, it’s never too late to start,” said Sparks. “I fulfilled my dream the day I received the first copy of my book.”

“Spring ABCs” is a self-published book through Trafford Publishing and is available online at Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble.com, Borders.com, BookFinders.com, SparksFlyBooks.com and Trafford.com/07-1352.

For more information, contact Sparks at 683-4089.

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