You may know that coal mining is a way of life in Appalachia. But how much do you know about the coal miners – their families, stories, or backgrounds?
Odds are, you don’t know a coal miner, so you probably have a stereotypical view. Because the communities of people that work in the coal mining industry can often be misunderstood or just plain ignored, Stacie Hutton decided to do something about it.
Stacie, a former teacher, wrote Shovelful of Sunshine to educate children – and adults – about coal mining families. Filled with beautiful illustrations, Shovelful of Sunshine tells the story of a coal miner father and daughter and is grounded in the importance of hopes and dreams and the value of family.
In addition to writing her award-winning picture book, Stacy also wrote and published The American History Detective Book, Jr. Social Studies Investigator, and Was It Possible? Please welcome Stacie to the Spotlight!
The inspiring story of a coal mining family
MCA: Welcome to the Spotlight, Stacie! What was your motivation behind writing Shovelful of Sunshine?
Stacie: I was born in West Virginia, and grew up in the coal fields of southeastern Ohio.
There is coal mining all throughout Appalachia, including Ohio, North Carolina, West Virginia, and Kentucky. I believe the region, its people, and industries have been marginalized, misunderstood, stereotyped, and sensationalized.
MCA: I don’t know that I knew coal mining covered so much territory. What kind of responses have you had from people who read Shovelful of Sunshine? It is what you had hoped for?
Stacie: People are happy there is a more fair book out about coal mining. I have had grown men and women weep as they tell me the Daddy character in the book reminds them of their coal miner father or grandfather.
MCA: Now, what do you consider your most important contribution in bringing Shovelful of Sunshine to families?
Stacie: I have given readers a less stereotyped, less sensationalized view of the coal mining industry and the people who work in it.
MCA: If developing Shovelful of Sunshine has changed your life in any way, would you be willing to share it with us?
Stacie: I have met some wonderful families. So many people have thanked me for writing the book. I learned a lot from coal miners, They are so courageous and optimistic. All of us here on the outside could learn from them.
MCA: Looking ahead six months to a year, what’s next for you?
Stacie: I hope to finish writing some reading comprehension apps and continue to promote Shovelful of Sunshine.
Shovelful of Sunshine
By Stacie V. Hutton
Illustrated by Cheryl Harness
Children’s Picture Books
Gold – Inspirational/Motivational
Contact, Connect, and Network with Stacie
The Alumni Spotlight is a periodic feature on the official Mom’s Choice Awards® blog. It is part of our ongoing effort to “shine the spotlight” on you and your award-winning, family-friendly products, services, and media.