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Writing for love

Dodie Sparks always wanted to write a children's book but didn't accomplish her goal until after she'd built a school.

Sparks is a retired teacher, counselor and school administrator. She started teaching physical education but became interested in counseling and returned to school to become a guidance specialist. She has been a high school dean of girls and counseled children ages 4-18. She and her husband, Duke, opened a preschool in their native California.

They quickly expanded to offering day care and after school care. Within two years, they had 150 children and two facilities.



Retired to Sequim

One of Sparks' favorite activities with the children was to read to them. That renewed her interest in writing her own children's book. They continued with their school until Sparks was offered a job with the public schools. Duke was selling real estate by then.

After the Sparkses retired to Sequim, Dodie's interest in writing rekindled. She was bothered by losing family memories when her parents died and wrote a memoir to pass on to her children. It took her two years to write what she remembered and add pictures to the story. She produced a binder for each of her three children.

She wasn't finished writing, though, and discovered a sheaf of poems she had written over the years. She added some to the memoir but one in particular caught her eye, a poem she had written about spring and the alphabet. She revised it and sent it to her eldest son and his wife for comments. Her son is a part-time musician and has written lyrics since he was in his teens. Her daughter-in-law has written for newspapers, so she trusted them to give her accurate feedback.



Original illustrations

One Mother's Day, a package arrived with her poem printed on a large poster. They loved the poem and suggested it would make a good children's book.

Thus "Spring ABC's" was born. Sparks revised a few sections and found a friend who made original oil paintings to illustrate it. She published it for her grandchildren and now sells it on her own.

Sparks is working on another book called "Never Too Old to Dream, An Adventure in Learning, Writing and Production After the Age of 70." She also is putting together a "Summer ABC's" book with photographs as illustrations.

Sparks will be at Starbucks, 1095 W. Washington St., from 9-11:30 a.m. on Saturday, March 20, and will sell autographed copies of "Spring ABC's." She can be reached at 681-4089 or sprksfly@msn.com.The book also can be purchased online at www.amazon.com or trafford.com/07-1352.



Reach Dana Casey at dcasey@sequimgazette.com.

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