Summer Porter Debuts as Author with ‘A Mouse Tail on Mackinac Island’
By Ernest Dempsey- Sat May 7, 2022
This month, an experienced educator and passionate writer officially debuted as a children’s book author with her first book A Mouse Tail on Mackinac Island published by the Modern History Press of Michigan.
Meet Summer Porter, an elementary school teacher of over 25 years, who grew up in Southern Michigan, but her favorite moments were spent on Mackinac Island visiting her family. This is why the story of her first book is set on the island she has been in love with since her childhood. A Mouse Tail on Mackinac Island tells and shows the adventures of a family of mice that travels to Mackinac Island.
Porter chose mice for the lead characters because she wanted an animal that is small, somewhat lovable, and could come over to the island without being noticed immediately. But it also goes back to her childhood. As she tells:
Growing up, I had many pet mice that I created personalities for, wrote songs about, and probably dressed up. Oh, and rats were a definite no!
A Mouse Tail on Mackinac Island conveys a very simple yet important message about the meaning of family. What the mouse parents do is no different than humans. They move, change careers, protect, teach, celebrate and, of course, a whole lot of hugging!
“My greatest hope for our book is that it creates a sense of wonderment in children. To be able to stir their curiosity and imagination with our little mouse family’s adventures would be a dream come true,” says the author and educator.
Written for kids age 5 to 8 years, the book is illustrated by none else than Porter’s niece, Maggie Chambers, who grew up drawing, painting, and creating on Mackinac Island. Since earning her BFA in 2015, Maggie has lived and worked in Washington, D.C. as a multidisciplinary designer and visual artist. Like Porter, A Mouse Tail on Mackinac Island is Maggie’s first children’s book to work on as an illustrator. She feels that her previous artwork is visually similar to the art in this book.
In her words, “I’ve always enjoyed creating vibrant and cheerful scenes with I Spy-like details. However, this book allowed me to explore a specific and personal subject matter for an extended period of time.”
Maggie adds that she was able to tap into her inner child, build a world, and visually represent her love for Mackinac Island all in the same project. For her, drawing for A Mouse Tail on Mackinac Island was a dream come true.
With vibrant illustrations and a charming story, A Mouse Tail on Mackinac Island is out to capture both the hearts and imagination of its audience.