By Shannon Ham
Special to theMessenger
HOUSTON COUNTY – One of the children’s books nominated for this year’s “Reader’s Choice” awards was “Annie’s Adventure,” written by mother and daughter team Vivian Tobias and Shannon Ham. Ham is not only a local writer and painter but a long time supporter of the Houston County Museum.
The book was written in the Davy Crockett National Forest over a four year period which was a halfway point to meet since I live in Lovelady and she lived in Alto at the time.
How did the book come about? I woke up one morning with a vision of a cartoon-type font, animals on letters (it felt like a gift from out of nowhere), and I created them in four months.
My mom and I decided to write a book using these letters and since my capital “A” was an ant, Annie became the star of the book. We had to get through the alphabet from A-Z, which was challenging but worked out beautifully. It’s not an alphabet book, by the way. Annie first meets an alligator, then a bee, a butterfly, a camel, etc.
The book is about a worker ant who dreamed her whole life of going on an adventure. Once Mama Queen gives her permission, she takes off for a day-long adventure meeting 51 other animals along the way. Each story is an adventure of its own, like a ferris wheel ride with an Iguana, playing baseball with a Rhinoceros and Hide-and-Seek with a Lizard. These fun, outlandish stories are based on real-life animal facts, so it’s educational, too. We worked hard at making it enjoyable for the adult reader as well with a lot of humor throughout.
It’s a wholesome collection of fun and innocent short stories to ignite the child’s imagination. If there’s a hidden message, it’s treating others with kindness, being resourceful and learning to appreciate nature and animals.
We were blessed to hire Nicola Sammarco an Italian illustrator who works with major companies and is a top-notch illustrator. It took one year to complete, so a five year project in total between writing and illustrating.
So far, Annie has been purchased in 18 states across the U.S. plus eight countries including the Philippines, Switzerland, Thailand, Italy, Kenya, Germany, Saudi Arabia and the UK. This all blows our minds. It is a tremendous blessing and almost indescribable and actually brings us to tears to talk about. Everything from the vision of the fonts, to how the Lord helped us figure out the storyline, to the support we’ve received – the whole experience has been amazing!
The entire collection of 52 short stories in one book sells for $18.95. It can be purchased on our website at www.anniesadventure.net or in Crockett at The Rustic Market and now available at the Texas State Railroad in Palestine.
Greg Ritchie can be reached at [email protected]