Local art teacher April Graves’s debut children’s book encompasses the power of confidence, courage, and perseverance
A journey two years in the making came to a satisfying close on November 2, 2023, for April Blodgett-Graves, as she released her debut children's book- Meet the Hotdogs.
Motivated by the author’s love of dogs, skiing, writing, and art, Meet The Hotdogs follows the main character, Pip Hotdog, as she navigates through various challenges, hurdles, and surprises on her first trip to the ski slopes with her family.
Pip Hotdog was inspired by Graves’s real-life pet dog, Pip (short for Pipsqueak), one of her three pet Brittanys she loves dearly.
Graves says that for her, stepping into the world of publishing and releasing her first children’s book parallels her main character’s story in many ways.
“On the personal side, this book is a reminder that I can do hard things. It’s like climbing a mountain: it's not easy. Like Pip in my story, I had to have confidence and persevere to complete it, and in the end, I had to have the courage to reveal it and share it with the world.”
Unlike Pip in her story, the Roscoe resident is not a beginner on the ski slopes. She has enjoyed the sport for thirty-four years and has taught several of her family members and friends how to ski. Her favorite place to ski is in Colorado.
April Blodgett-Graves is a Rockford University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in both art history and fine arts in studio, as well as a master's degree in arts in teaching.
She moved to the village of Roscoe twenty-three years ago with her husband to raise their two daughters. She worked as the librarian at Stone Creek and Ledgewood School for twelve years and treasured the position surrounded by children and children’s literature.
She now cherishes her role as the art teacher at Rockton Grade School, where, for the last seven years, she has nourished and empowered creativity in the young minds of her students.
Graves also did all of the illustrating for Meet the Hotdogs. She says, “I was doing the illustrations before the writing came to me. It was something I had already been doing for a while. I realized I could make my illustrations into a children’s book, which had been on my bucket list for over twenty years.”
She decided to take the steps to make that dream a reality. After taking the Children’s Book Masterclass through Miriam Laundry Publishing, as well as several other writing and publishing courses to help her fine-tune her storyline, she began the tedious process of writing, revising, and editing.
All that hard work finally paid off when her book was completed in October 2023.
Upon its release, Meet the Hotdogs reached number four on Amazon's Top 100 New Release list, just one week after it launched on November 2, 2023.
Readers can look forward to being entertained by The Hotdogs in five more books since Meet the Hotdogs is book one in a series of six, with book two currently in the works.
Graves says, “I am so grateful for the overwhelming amount of support I’ve received. It means the world to me. I cannot thank everyone enough.”