MARSTON MILLS — Foster mom Holly Seaver and granddaughter Cecelia Cash, 21, wrote an illustrated children’s book, promoting foster care, during the pandemic.
“Jack & Max & the Happy Home: A Foster Care Story,” a story of two cats, is written by Seaver and illustrated by Cash.
The duo came up with the idea of writing this book when Seaver adopted two new cats. Through the process, she said, she realized what foster kids go through in the foster care system has mirrored the experience of her getting the cats. Seaver wanted to share this experience through writing and planned to get it illustrated.
One of her granddaughters, Cash, who is studying at Pueblo Community College in Colorado, stepped in and illustrated the book.
“This was my first project and to figure everything out we had to do a lot of discussions over email and video calls,” said Cash because she lives in Canon City, Colorado, and Seaver lives on Cape Cod.
It took them 18 months to get the book ready for publication, and Seaver self-published it on Amazon in May.
The book is free for the Kindle edition and $10 for a printed paperback copy. The cover features the two cats, Jack, and Max, along with a butterfly. Jack and Max have a few stops on their way to a “forever” home and a butterfly follows them throughout the book.
Butterfly is sign of hope and change
“Cecelia came up with the concept of the butterfly; readers can find the butterfly in every page, as they follow Jack and Max’s journey,” Seaver said. The butterfly is the symbol of new life, hope and change.
“When I was little, my mother and I used to read children’s books and I always loved finding small details inside these books,” said Cash. “I wanted to do the same. The butterfly is something kids can find in every page and this detail adds a joyful element to it.”
Foster kids and their journey to find a home can be a long process.
“They start off with one home or place, and then they get moved to another place,” Seaver said about foster children’s experiences. “After that, you might get moved into a group setting and then eventually you get your forever home.”
“Jack & Max & the Happy Home” is about promoting foster care, focused on the idea that anyone can become a foster parent; anyone can bring hope and joy into the lives of foster children by giving them their “forever” home.
Seaver said the book is not just about helping foster kids. It also sends a message of encouragement and hope for everyone.
“Anyone who loves children or pets, anyone who has children, can enjoy this and find encouragement,” she said.
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Seaver previously wrote and self-published another book with another granddaughter, Riley Coleman, during the pandemic. “Riley’s Family Cookbook”, a recipe book with their favorite recipes to make together, was published on Amazon in 2020.
Seaver and her husband, Ralph, have been fostering children in their home for the last five years. Currently, they are caring for two girls, ages 6 and 10. During the last five years, about 15 children have gone through their house during the foster-care process.
“Some of them went into families and some of them went onto long-term foster placement,” Seaver said. “The two girls have been with us for the last two years.”
Five years into fostering, she and her husband are committed to continuing.
“This is something God put in our hearts to do,” Seaver said, “we get a lot of joy having children around all the time.”
Cash started drawing and experimenting when she was in middle school. A self-learner, she said her goal is to illustrate more children’s books in the future.
“I hope more people will read the book and they will get a better understanding of how the foster care system works,” she said.
Book profits will help foster care
All profits from this new book will go to support foster families in need. Seaver said she wrote the book because she believes it can help children and families who need the support.
Book sales will benefit two organizations that support foster children: Kind Hearts for Kids, and Cape Cod Ambassadors. Kind Hearts for Kids, a non-profit organization, works with children and teenagers in foster and grandparent care. Cape Cod Ambassadors, a team of professionals from several different churches and organizations, works to support and empower children in the foster care system.
The link to buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Jack-Max-Happy-Home-Foster/dp/B0B146PQ84/ref=sr_1_7?crid=2VI5FSRSCMK22&keywords=jack+%26+max+%26+the+happy +home&qid=1659128251&sprefix=jack+%26+max%2Caps%2C131&sr=8-7