By Leigh Verburg, Branch Librarian
Meet Jodi Hicks.
Jodi is a local author born and raised in Grand Rapids. She is the proud owner of two dogs, Russell and Wilson. She is a professor at Davenport University with a doctorate in counseling and a motivational speaker. Her new book, Sand in My Shorts: Adventures in Kindness with Doodle Dog Russell is a picture book for kids. Sand in My Shorts is the first book in the Adventures in Kindness with Russell the Doodle Dog series. It is a story about sharing kindness with a new little girl in the neighborhood and helping her make friends. It is infused with humor and the illustrations really bring Russell to life. The premise of all the books is simply “to treat others the way you want to be treated.” It is a sweet story told from the perspective of Russell, a dog.
Jodi was inspired to write this endearing story because of the pandemic. “I see so many hurting people, that I really wanted to emphasize to children the importance of spreading kindness. I was inspired by my own nieces and nephews, who have always enjoyed my story telling tendencies,” she said.
Jodi says that the Bible is a book that inspired her writing and showed her how important it is to spread love. She really loves books that personify animals.
“Telling Russell’s story through his voice and having him dress in his brother’s clothes is a humorous way for the children to relate to him,” Jodi said. “My intention for writing this series of four books about Russell the doodle dog is to demonstrate the importance of treating others kindly. I hope and pray that teachers, parents and other significant adult figures can use the books to have good teachable moments with children about being kind and loving to others.”
Jodi has another book coming out this November called Fleas with Friends.
For more local author reads, check out KDL's Local Indie collection.