Great Children’s Books by Southeast Michigan Parents

These three children's books by southeast Michigan parents offer fun and colorful stories to kids – and inspiration to busy parents.

Finding time to sit down and read a good book is a challenge for any busy mom or dad. But these local parents have found the time to write children’s books – even with day jobs and kids to tend to.

Here, they open up on how they managed to find the time and the inspiration that they drew from.

construction cousins Construction Cousins 

With bright colors and loud noises, it’s no wonder construction equipment captivates young children.

Sisters Nicole Hicks of Brighton and Stacie Majszak of South Lyon took their children’s love of huge machinery a step further with their book Construction Cousins.

“Our boys are obsessed with diggers,” Hicks says. “We can go to a festival, but if there’s something like a digger or an excavator nearby, the kids get totally sidetracked into watching the machines.”

Hicks, a sixth grade teacher and Majszak, a middle school counselor, published their first book in September, 2018.

They each have a son (5 at the time of publication) and a daughter (3 at the time of publication) who appear in the book as the “construction cousins” preparing for their grandfather’s surprise party. Along the way, the cousins – reimagined as the machines they love – must work together to hang decorations and clean up before the big party.

“I feel like a lot of children’s books are adorable stories but they don’t necessarily teach a lesson,” Majszak says. “We wanted to teach a lesson in this book and we wanted to create a sense of family.”

The book is best for ages 2-6 and is available for $14.95 on Amazon.

Don’t Be Sad, Get ‘Even’ even

Leaving a crying child behind when going to work can be a painful experience for both parents and children.

One local dad’s solution? Pen a book to help children understand why parents have to leave.

“The book Even is based on a song that I wrote for my daughter,” Andy Gutman, a businessman from Novi says. “It’s about the fact that as a parent, I have obligations, but even when I’m not with you, you’re always on my mind and you are so very loved.”

Gutman started with the song and ended with a 34-page book brimming with lyrical prose and colorful illustrations.

“Even is a rhyming book and it definitely has that cadence to it,” he says. The song that inspired the book is also available for listening via a code reader scan on your phone.

Though his daughter Riley is now a teen and isn’t upset when he goes to work anymore, Gutman says she still appreciates the book’s message.

“I think it makes her feel special and loved, and that’s all I ever really wanted,” he says.

Even is appropriate for ages 0-8 and available for $19.99 on Amazon.

shoot for the goal Shoot for the Goal 

As a child, Justin Abdelkader dreamed of being a professional hockey player. Today, he’s a Detroit Red Wings left wing and alternate captain – and he’s sharing his story to help inspire kids to pursue their goals.

In 2018, he published Shoot for the Goal – The Justin Abdelkader Story, a 32-page illustrated book that tells the story of how Abdelkader turned his dreams into reality, and why his commitment to education was so important along the way.

“I have always believed reading is the foundation for students’ success in the classroom and that a focus on education helps people achieve their goals at any age,” Abdelkader says in a press release. “We hope this book teaches kids everywhere that anything is possible through hard work and perseverance – it’s a lesson I plan to teach my son, too.”

The Abdelkaders welcomed a son, Jaxon, in September 2018.

Shoot for the Goal – The Justin Abdelkader Story is best for ages 9-12 and sells for $16.95.

Looking for more books to read with your kids? Check out our list of banned or challenged books every kid should read or Elena Reads’ top 20 kids books about diversity.

This post was originally published in 2019 and is updated regularly. 

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