ANZA – With the end of the year quickly approaching, many people are beginning to think of a new year’s resolution. Some people want to put more of an effort into living a healthier lifestyle, run a marathon or even write a book. Two teachers at Hamilton K-8 School refused to wait for the New Year to accomplish one of their goals, which was to get their books published.
Jackie Neypes is a kindergarten through first-grade teacher at Hamilton. Neypes has always been interested in writing. Her book, “Just Indian,” was published in April 2016. “Just Indian” is a story about a Native American boy who is struggling with negative stereotypes and how he overcomes this adversity.
Neypes said the story came from a series of dreams she had about Whale Beach, Tahoe. She is a registered Washoe tribe member and wanted to use this story to help bring traditional stories into the modern era. The book won first place in cultural diversity from the Royal Dragonfly Awards and a bronze medal in the Moonbeam Awards in the children’s Mind-Body-Spirit/ Self Esteem category.
Neypes, a former Hamilton graduate, said she hopes students can take a lot away from her book and her experience in getting it published. She teaches her students to not give up and to not let little things get in their way or slow them down.
Kris Wood is a fourth-grade teacher at Hamilton School. Wood’s book, “From Cage to Couch,” was published in October 2016. The book describes Wood and her husband’s journey in adopting various animals in a year. The main animal discussed in the book is a beagle named Chief that was used previously for animal testing, and their journey to rehabilitate him giving him a forever home. Wood said the process was challenging because they had to teach Chief simple tasks such as eating from a bowl.
They adopted Chief from The Beagle Freedom Project after he and about 40 beagles were rescued from a closing laboratory in Spain and were shipped to the U.S. Wood said the experience has taught her many things like compassion, patience and even the importance of research on animal testing.
Wood said the process of completing the book was challenging. It was sent to many publishers, and after four years, it was finally published. Wood said there was a point that she felt like giving up and even stopped sending it out. However, she knew she wanted to get her story out for informational purposes and to inform people about The Beagle Freedom Project. She is so thankful for the nonprofit and for what it has done that she is donating 10 percent of her book profits to the animal rescue program.