By Sadie Hunter
Noblesville author Annie Streit is telling her story through Scooter, a fictional dog who uses his wheelchair to get around in everyday life.
Her children’s book, “Scooter and His Scoot Scoot,” was published by Dorrance Publishing in July.
“I had been wanting to write a children’s book for a long time, and I was having trouble deciding what I wanted to write about,” Streit said. “This idea came around, and I just kind of went with it.”
In the summer of 2005, Streit, 34, had just graduated from Ball State University with a degree in interior design. While swimming with friends at her graduation party, she dove into the pool and suffered a life-changing accident.
“I never hit the bottom,” she said. “When I hit the water, my neck snapped back funny and crushed my vertebrae, and I think I might have had a weak spot in my neck. It’s just one of those accidents.”
The next year, Streit said she decided to go back to school for a degree in social studies education.
“And that’s when I got more interested in writing, and I enjoyed talking to groups about my accident or people who had been in an accident,” she said. “A lot of times, when I went for therapy, my therapist would be like, ‘Hey, can you talk with this patient who needs a little help?’”
Over the past year and a half, Streit wrote the 30-page book and worked with Dorrance Publishing to illustrate it. Now, she’s selling the hardcover edition and will give some of the profits to the Humane Society of Hamilton County, to which she gave her first donation in August.
“I wanted to do a series, and this is the first of the series,” Streit said. “I wanted to have a way of reaching out to children to share my story and kind of relate it to this story. I’ve spoken to many groups about my accident, but I’ve never really been able to talk to kids about it, and they are so inquisitive and want to know, and a lot of them have not been around a person in a wheelchair. So it was just another way I could reach out to them and show that just because you’re in a wheelchair doesn’t mean you can’t still have goals and do whatever you want to do.
“As you read through, the book talks about situations that I’ve been in myself. You know, there’s a part where it talks about your friends helping because you get stuck in the mud, just simple things like that. It shows how he can do everything everybody else does, despite looking different. It may take him longer, or he may have to go about it in a different way, but the end result (is the same).”
Streit is working on completing the three other books she has planned for the series. The next, titled “A Dog Named Bird,” is already written but is in publishing negotiation.
“(‘A Dog Named Bird’) is about fostering and adoption, about Bird being rescued and someone taking him from a shelter,” Streit said. “And Bird is an actual dog. She’s a golden retriever that a friend of mine rescued.”
The third in the series, “Rough and Tough T-Bone,” has already been started and focuses on bullying and a bull dog character. The last book will be about courage and facing your fears.
“Hopefully, after I’m done, I can have stories that include all four characters,” she said. “I’ve also been wanting to write a story about myself to share my experience, because I have a lot of humorous experiences. So that’s something I’ve been working on over quite a few years.”
MORE ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Pets: Two dogs, D-bo and Mia.
Education: Graduated from Ball State University in 2005 with a degree in interior design. Went back to Ball State in 2006 to obtain a second degree in social studies education.
Career: Did student teaching at Anderson High School. After student teaching, worked as a tutor for all ages. Currently works for a youth development program at the YMCA.
Lived: Moved to New Castle, Ind. when she was 6 months old from Buffalo, N.Y. Lived in New Castle for 28 years before moving to Noblesville in 2010.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Published: July 2016.
Ages: Preschool to second grade.
Where to buy: Directly through Annie Streit by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
“If they buy a book directly through me, I’ll autograph it, and a dollar goes to the Humane Society of Hamilton County.” Also can be purchased through the publishing company at dorrancebookstore.com. Available as an e-book.