Author Draws On Louisiana
Louisianans love some Louisiana. When local children’s book author Susan Jenkins McClendon moved to Shreveport, she knew her next book needed to be about the Pelican State. “What I find so amazing is that the people in Louisiana are so diehard. They love the state of Louisiana,” she said.
The book is titled “The Adventures of Jake and Alli in Louisiana.” It’s the third book in the series Jenkins McClendon is writing about all 50 states. Books about North Carolina and South Carolina are already out, and a book about Texas is almost finished.
“The goal was to write one for each state, ... They’re based on our dogs,” she said. “Jake is an English bulldog, and Alli is a miniature Dachshund.”
“The Adventures of Jake and Alli in Louisiana” follows the puppy pair through their adventures in the state while learning fun facts. Jenkins McClendon says the book teaches the reader about what makes Louisiana so unique.
And while telling a cute, rhyming tale about the adventures of a couple of canine companions, the book also educates the reader about the state’s facts, such as the capital, state bird and iconic bodies of water.
Jenkins McClendon had never written a book before but wanted to incorporate her love of children, dogs and books to educate the reader. She chose to write the books from her dogs’ perspective because she hadn’t seen it done before.
“I thought, what a fun way for a child to learn through the dogs’ adventures!” she said. “I wanted children to learn about what makes their state so special ... and I wanted it to be fun.”
Jenkins Mc- Clendon says the book is currently being sold in 29 stores across Louisiana, including some local shops. Find the book in Shreveport at La Bambolina, The Moppet Shoppe, 318 Art & Garden, Jolie Blonde Gifts, The Enchanted Garden, Lewis Gifts and Appli-K’s. It’s also available at Birdwell’s, Give Me 3 and Ralph & Kacoo’s restaurant in Bossier City.
“The Adventures of Jake and Alli” books are available in libraries in some of the states Jenkins McClendon has written about. And she says they’re also a popular purchase with teachers.
The book was not only a work of heart for Jenkins McClendon, it was also a family affair. The artist listed on the book’s front cover, Brandon McClendon, is Jenkins McClendon’s stepson.
“He did all the illustrations. Everything is hand-drawn with no computer use. It’s all done with colored pencils and huge canvases, and I scan them in,” she said.
The book comes in hardcover. That’s because Jenkins McClendon says during a visit to the children’s book section at Barnes & Noble, the books that most appealed to her were hardback books with dust jackets. The look and feel of her book were important details to Jenkins McClendon. She wanted a soft feel to the cover and for the pages to be matte, not glossy.
“I’m an English literature major so I love the feel of a book. I love the smell of a book,” she said. “I wanted all of your senses to be impacted by the book.”
The real Jake and Alli may be seen inside the book on the dust jacket. “People love that, because then they can say, ‘Look, there’s Jake and Alli, the real dogs!” she said. “It’s been so fun. When the books first arrived, I didn’t realize I was going to be so overwhelmed with emotion.”
Jake and Alli lovers can also purchase accessories that go with the books. A matching Jake and Alli slipcover for pillows is available, and it has a pocket on the front to store the book on the child’s pillow.