Goodyear woman publishes first children’s book

Local Author Stacey Hill (center) stands with her sons Austin (left), 15, and Lucas, 12, husband Rob and dog, Lucky, in their Goodyear home, June 16. (View photo by Jordan Christopher)

By Glenn Gullickson

A West Valley elementary school teacher is finding another way to teach through a book she’s written for children.

Stacey Hill’s first book, Goose and Moose Visit the Beach, was released July 4.

“I’m a teacher at heart. I’m still teaching through my book,” said Hill, who teaches at Copper Trails School in Goodyear.

The 49-year-old Goodyear resident said she’s teaching a lesson of caring with a book aimed at youngsters from 3 to 8 years old attending pre-school and elementary school.

“This is a story about being kind and showing that you care about someone even if you don’t know them,” Hill said.

Hill said the story was inspired by her sons, Austin, 15, and Lucas, 12, with the book’s title characters given the boys’ childhood nicknames.

“They are the world to me. They are the characters,” said Hill, noting that Goose and Moose also share the boys’ interests in computers and sports.

In the story, Goose and Moose are visiting the beach when they meet a dog, a character based on her brother-in-law, who needs help.

Hill said events that happened in the story occurred during family visits to Southern California, where she lived before moving to Arizona in 1992.

Hill said she’s been thinking about writing the book for years, keeping notes in a journal, and was encouraged by a friend, who’s also a writer, who helped her find a publisher.

About a year ago, she submitted her manuscript to Mascot Books, a small publishing house in Virginia that paired her with Canadian-based illustrator Steve McGinnis.

“It was important to me to find the right illustrator,” Hill said. “I had visions of what it would look like.”

The author and illustrator never met, but Hill said she gave McGinnis notes for the whimsical illustrations for each page of the 24-page book.

“He hit the nail on the head,” she said. “His pictures made the story come to life.”

Hill said her book is different from other ones for children because it includes comprehension questions and a vocabulary list, devices that allow a parent to interact with a child about the book.

“I think that’s what makes it stand out from other picture books,” she said. “The teacher part of me came out in the book. I love read-along time.”

Hill said she read the book to her first-grade class, which became kind of a focus group for the project, and gave her pupils copies as gifts on the last day of class.

After teaching for 13 years, Hill said she will work as a substitute teacher next year while she promotes the book and literacy in schools and bookstores.

Hill said she hopes the book is the first in a series of The Adventures of Goose and Moose books, with each story dealing with a character trait.

Already in the works are two books dealing with bravery and responsibility, she said.

Goose and Moose Visit the Beach is available through Barnes and Noble and Hill will sign books from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday, August 12, at Barnes and Noble, 1446 N. Litchfield Road, Goodyear.  

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