Local author and mom Staci Hauk encourages kids to value their friendships with her first children’s book, Sawyer’s Two Cents.
The book is set in the Valley and was inspired by her two children, 12-year-old Sawyer and 10-year-old Garrett. She originally wrote the story as a college essay. “I was asked to create a story where an inanimate object had a greater purpose,” Hauk said. “I wrote about a penny that was passed around town, bringing all those who touched it good luck in different ways and somehow bonding and connecting them.”
Hauk’s story was put aside for years, but she always remembered the advice from her professor, who told her to hold onto it as it might make a good published book one day. “I revisited the penny idea with my children navigating the ebb and flow of finding true friends,” Hauk said.
In the book, Sawyer collects pennies for every friend she meets, but as the story unfolds, she realizes real friends or ‘shiny pennies’ are more important than duller pennies. Hauk said that quality over quantity is the moral of the story.
Sharing this message about the power of healthy, happy friendship is important for Hauk, who fell in love with reading at a young age, thanks to Dr. Seuss books.
“The Lorax is my all-time favorite story – caring about others always seemed to resonate with me. The Giving Tree is another favorite,” she said.
Hauk hopes that people of all ages can benefit from her book and its lesson. “The idea is for kids and adults to read this book together, no matter their age,” Hauk said. “When children choose friends, it can often feel like they are special and going to give as much as they get out of the friendship. Sawyer realizes in this story that while she has a lot of friends, many are not willing to help her in difficult situations.”
Throughout the story, Sawyer acknowledges that she has two friends she can always trust to lift her spirits and help her out through the good and the bad, and they are the two shiny pennies in her collection. “It is hard at any age, even as adults, to sort out the good friends from the not so good ones. This story can help kids rationalize this concept easily and through illustrations both figurative and literal,” Hauk said.
The book’s illustrations use the Grand Canyon State as the backdrop and were created by fellow Arizonan Rebecca Steward. Hauk looks forward to publishing two more books in the series. “Next up is Garrett’s Good Fortune, and Angus Deals with Anguish. Each book follows one of Sawyer’s two best friends as they use inanimate objects to tell their stories.”
Sawyer’s Two Cents is available at Barnes & Noble, Amazon and other major retailers.