Fort Frances local publishes second children’s book

By Merna Emara
Staff Writer

A children’s book, about the importance of rescuing pets and self-esteem is now up for sale.

“Jack the Husky gets a Sister” is being sold for $16.99 at Northwoods Gallery & Gifts in Fort Frances and Pharmasave.

Shannon Carlson, is no stranger to the publishing field. Having written “Jack the Husky Gets Rescued,” in 2017, she continued her series after she adopted a new dog, Sophie, Jack’s husky sister.

This book has been in production for two and a half years because Carlson wanted to make sure the illustrations were perfect.

The two books are based on events that took place in Carlson’s life. Having adopted Jack and rescued Sophie, she describes to readers the merits of adopting pets and accepting their flaws.

“Sophie was homeless and she was running around the streets,” Carlson said. “She had male dogs after her. She wasn’t the standard of what somebody would buy.”

Sophie was not your typical pet, Carlson said, often hiding when she is around a lot of people. It took Sophie months before she really came around, Carlson said, adding that she always respected her pet’s need for space.

Carlson also mentions the importance of accepting the animals’ physical flaws, making a mention in the book about Sophie’s floppy ears. Carlson said she is trying to convey to children that it is important to have self-esteem.

“It was really bothering me when I was seeing pet owners who would actually put their dogs through surgery, because they wanted to have pointed ears on their dog,” Carlson said. “That really bugs me because it is so unnecessary. We’re pushing our human need to be perfect onto our pets. That was obviously one of the messages.”

Carlson has also always been an advocate for adopting and rescuing animals, as opposed to seeking out breeders.

“I really just wanted to find a way to entertain children in a fun way. But also try to get the subtle messages into them, where they would grow up to be adults who wanted to go to humane societies, instead of breeders,” Carlson said. “I’m not against breeders, but there’s so many homeless dogs. I want children to grow up and be adoptive pet owners.”

Carlson is always around children because she works in the school bussing business. She said even though she does not have children, she loves being around them.

Carlson hopes children will look the book and maybe even relate to Sophie, adding that she hears people will adopt a pet and say there is something wrong with them and that they are not a typical dog.

Sometimes pet owners have to accept that some pets have a cruel history and need time to adjust, Carlson said.

“I know when I was a child that reading books was so powerful,” Carlson said. “They take you to places. I obviously know nowadays there is a lot more interesting technology and entertainment for children. But I will still have a child who will come up to me and say your book is my favourite book.”

Carlson’s books target children aged 5 to 12, but she said they are good for everyone. She also has two other books currently in production.

Most of the sales from the books are donated to animal rescue groups, Carlson said. She also helped organize a fundraiser in Fort Frances called “Stuff the Bus” last December. They filled the bus with leashes and collars and food for animal rescue groups. Carlson said it was a wonderful fundraiser that the community contributed to.

She was also invited to the Winnipeg Humane Society, where her book was a part of their programming.

“They have a program called See Spot Read,” Carlson said. “They bring some children in and they read to the pets. They integrated my first book into that program and then the children got to keep the books at the end. It’s a really wonderful program for the kids and for the pets because the children are getting close to the pets. It was a wonderful experience.”

Carlson said she received a lot of feedback from children around her, parents and grandparents. Some of the feedback was international because the book was shipped to South Africa and the United States.

“I’ve had great support from my family and my boyfriend, Erik, who is the star of the book too. He was really integral, obviously helping with Sophie.”