Niles woman publishes her first children’s book
Posted 3:30 p.m. on Monday, August 22, 2022
NILES — In a nutshell, writing a book was never on artist Allison Sumrall’s creative radar growing up.
All it took was for an idea to take root and become something real for the Niles native, who earlier this year released her first book, ‘The Little Acorn,’ a children’s story. on a small acorn “which could not imagine ever being anything more.”
Published under Sumrall’s illustration company, Animals That Talk, and funded entirely by a Kickstarter campaign in 2020, Sumrall wrote and illustrated the book in hopes of inspiring his young son, Dylan. The process has also been therapeutic for Sumrall herself.
“It’s something I needed to hear as a woman in her thirties,” she said. “That things can happen to us, rather than to us…” The book itself has a more serious and gentle message compared to other works I do which are more ironic.
A graduate of Niles High School, Sumrall earned degrees at Kendall College of Art and Design and Coastal Carolina University. Four years ago, Sumrall returned to Niles with her son and began drawing animal portraits based on her favorite TV and movie characters. That’s when Animals That Talk was created.
“I learned that even though I could only feel joy for a short while, lingering anxiety could not coexist at the same time,” Sumrall wrote on his website. “Animals That Talk was created to spark joy when the fear of mine was relentless.”
Sumrall said she wrote The Little Acorn to remind readers – especially children – that they can have hope despite difficult circumstances. She hopes children will learn resilience, gratitude and using uncontrollable circumstances to grow.
“I don’t believe everything happens for a reason because I think it justifies bad behavior,” she said. “I believe good things can come out of some really dark situations. I love the idea of kids having that mindset in their toolkit. Even though they cannot see what good can come of it, just knowing that this situation will pass; we’re not stuck right now. There is an underlying sense of hope. I’m really passionate about the message itself.
Sumrall thinks adults will appreciate the message and enjoy seeing the images with young readers and hopes the book will spark conversations about the different seasons of life.
Sumrall has shared the book with friends, family and preschool classes and the feedback has been positive.
“One of my dearest friends is from Pittsburgh and he gave the book to someone struggling with addiction,” she said. “He gave him the book and he cried. It was really heartwarming… Sometimes it takes the 10th person to tell us something before they check in with us. You start thinking ‘I’m not stuck’, ‘it’s okay’. I don’t think you can ever hear that too much. Kindness does not go to waste. There has been good feedback so far.
While writing and illustrating a book was a lot of work, Sumrall enjoyed the process.
“It’s easy to get overwhelmed,” she says. “But seeing a project from start to finish and being part of it is something I’m really grateful for.”
After attending interior design school, Sumrall never imagined she would become a published author. Still, she looks forward to writing more books to share with parents and children.
“My biggest goal is to get this into as many little hands as possible,” she said. “I had books growing up that meant so much to me that I was able to share with my son. The idea of this book being something that kids turn to over and over in households is something I would love. see.
The small tassel can be purchased at talkinganimals.net.