SARATOGA SPRINGS — After over five years in the making, local author and illustrator Jennifer Claire Hockford has completed her three-book series, which teaches preschool children a fun way to learn the alphabet, count, and all about bees and honey production. Hockford, whose day job is at Higher Logic in Saratoga Springs and resides in Rexford, spent the last five years working on her three-book series. The first book of the series, titled Our Little Farm ABC, book number two is Our Little Farm 1, 2, 3 Meet Shannon the Sheepdog, and the third book in the series it entitled Our Little Farm Meets Buzzy the Bee.
Inspiration struck Hockford about five years ago while working as an artist CO-OP in Middleburgh, NY, an area struck by extensive flooding in years past. By nature, Hockford has always found herself making lists and doodling; adding different colors and eventually creating this imaginary farm. Soon, a passing idea turned into a thoughtful brainstorming session and the characters of the farm were born. After searching for gifts for new parents, Hockford was disappointed in the selection of learning books and toys. This ultimately led her to create her three-book series. Creating these books based from the culture and livelihood of an area that was so devastated is Hockford’s way of making them proud while paying tribute to the area.
“It took five years to complete because I originally did the first three books. I felt it to be complete when I became confident with the way everything looked. I submitted them to a librarian in Clifton Park to take a look at them in January,” Hockford explained.
The librarian complimented her illustrations and storyline and told her of the corrections needed to be made. Her character, Shannon the Sheepdog, is based on her friend's daughter, also named Shannon. “She’s just super enthusiastic,” Hockford said.
Shannon is a high schooler at Shenendehowa.
“She has a ton of energy,” Hockford continued.
Shannon will be the narrator of the book for the Burlington Book Festival reading.
“My husband said, ‘you’re super artistic but when are you going to start selling these books?” She said.
Hockford self-publishes via Creative Space through Amazon.
“It’s a wonderful program, very user friendly and easy to work with,” she explained. Having been a painter and teaching art classes for over 15 years, writing and illustrating was a new and exciting medium for her.
“The series definitely lends itself for many other books so I’m hoping to just continue that on,” Hockford explained.
“I like giving back to the community so I’m going to be approaching some local daycares if they want to do any fundraising type of activities to sell the books and just contribute back to them,” she stated.
All books are available via Hockford’s website: www. ourlittlefarmabc.com. Hockford’s website not only contains books for sale, but also read along videos to help young readers find their way through each book.