A female resident of Garfield has released a new children’s book on Amazon. Entitled “Jon Jon’s Turtle Soup,” Dawn Evans says the work is the result of many years spent brainstorming, rough-drafting, networking, and tweaking a concept that centers around the light of her life and book’s namesake, her son.
Evans’ story begins in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where she was born and raised. She eventually moved to Waynesboro, where she and her ex-husband raised their son, Jon Jon, while she worked as an early childhood educator for 12 years at Burke County High School. Following a “bad, very public divorce,” she met and married a man from Garfield in 2010 and has lived in Emanuel ever since.
Meanwhile, Jon Jon remained in school at Edmund Burke Academy. All the way up until his graduation in 2012, her son was a star.
That, combined with an assignment she received in college and what she knew from years in the classroom, fueled her to write “Jon Jon’s Turtle Soup.”
“When I worked at Burke County, I had to attend Augusta State to receive my early childhood education certificate. One of the things I had to do as a student was write a children’s book. Then and there, I decided on the title,” Evans explained. “My son’s name has always been popular, and he himself was a special kid. He was in every sport, he had many friends, and his name was a magnet that followed him through school. After reading to 3-year-olds for several years in the classroom, knowing what they liked, I knew a book about ‘Jon Jon’s’ adventures might stuck in a child’s mind. I knew kids would love it.”
From that moment on, she got to work and never stopped until she felt she had the plot just right. Today, “Jon Jon’s Turtle Soup” follows a little boy named—you guessed it!—Jon Jon through a day in the life. His mother leaves out a peanut butter and jelly sandwich one morning for lunch, but, in typical kid fashion, Jon Jon didn’t want it. Instead, he decides to catch a turtle to make—again, you guessed it!—turtle soup. Jon Jon then takes a trip to a nearby pond and catches a turtle, who, in turn, convinces the protagonist he needs other ingredients. Jon Jon goes on to catch a number of other wildlife such as a bull frog, a largemouth bass, a catfish, and even an alligator… And that’s all of the book’s synopsis you’ll find in this story because spoiled endings are never any fun.
“I never stopped working on the book. Once I knew it was finished, I wanted to publish it… But I didn’t know how to do that,” Evans continued.
She then laid out the story on the floor with some sketches, and it stayed there for a while. Her husband, her mother, and Jon Jon himself encouraged her to look for an illustrator, and she took their advice. A man by the name of Toby Mikle appeared during a search; he had illustrated more than 100 books, and Evans liked the looks of what she saw. In the author’s own words, she felt like she “connected with his illustrations.” She wrote to him, providing a briefing of the work, and he responded within five minutes, agreeing to bring the book to life.
That was in April. Four months went by and by August 19, the finished product was launched on Amazon. The following day, “Jon Jon’s Turtle Soup” hit No. 1 on the New Releases list.
If you’re interested in ordering a copy of Evans’ book, you can do so by visiting amazon.com/books, then inputting “Jon Jon’s Turtle Soup” into the search bar at the top. Priced at just $9.93, the 2021 work will be the first on the list. It typically ships within three days for free. The target age group is 8 and below.
“I’m really proud of this book. I’m thrilled with the results, and I hope the public enjoys it as much as I do. I believe in supporting hometown folks, and I truly believe this is a book your children will ask every night for you to read before bed.”