A Friend for Festus and my Feelings

A Friend for Festus is a children’s book by Jennifer Greene-Sullivan

Illustrated by Joshua Wichterich

A Friend for Festus by Jennifer Greene-Sullivan

November 2020, we were in full pandemic mode at the Wheeler County High School as well as in the rest of the South. It seemed like we were all living in a perpetual state of panic and of stress since April 2020. My tenth grade honors English class and myself were looking for something happy or for anything fun. We had all been trapped in small places and in fear for too long.

May 2020, I decided to purchase a Jack Russell pup for my husband as an anniversary gift, and I noticed that my students loved stories about our Jack Russell, Festus, and his fun antics. So that November while we were all working on Rhetorical Analysis Essays, I began to write when they worked on their assignment.

Festus and my son Liam

My imaginative version of Festus took life and jumped and played inside my Google drive. Eventually, I allowed them read it and make suggestions. My students that semester were incredibly funny and caring. They supported my ideas while offering me excellent advice.

Finally, before my students and I went home for Christmas break 2020, I had planned to send A Friend for Festus to my illustrator. I often have to wait to send my manuscript to Joshua, my illustrator, due to financial issues, so I finally got to send the story off Summer of 2021. I was so excited to see Eve and Festus come to life in the illustrations. While my book was being illustrated, a dear sweet student of my mine was killed in an ATV accident.

My WCHS family mourned right along with Paulette’s family members. She had brought so much joy and inspiration to me that I dedicated the book to her.

#LLP Paulette McLeod 2021

I think of Paulette so often, and I have marveled at her friends’ ability to continue their education while memorializing Paulette along the way. Next year, Paulette’s classmates will be Seniors, and I long to have the second book in the series about Festus completed and published by 2023 to honor the WCHS Class of 2023.

I will always love and miss Paulette. Maybe she can have an imaginative journey in Festus and Finn! She would make an excellent addition to Festus’ children’s book adventures. Comment on this post if you have questions about how I wrote the book or about how it was illustrated.

Jennifer Greene-Sullivan

Buy your copy of A Friend for Festus on Amazon today! Click below.

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I am an English teacher, mother, and wife, but I love to write. I feel that I am blessed to be able to use my talent to write about my children's books, poems, short fiction, and parenting. Please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have about my experiences with beginning a writing career while focusing on my children and my job. I look forward to comments and to hear from my readers!

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