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June Simmons, of Conway, Arkansas, feels that the best word to describe her is “teacher.” After retiring from a forty-year career teaching high school English, she taught creative writing for nine years to elementary and middle school students at Blackbird Academy of Arts in Conway.
It was at Blackbird that her stories of her mischievous dog, Jack, first came to life as “the freedom dog.” A rowdy, little stray dog had joined her family, and she and her son named him Jack. Her students loved to hear June's stories about his antics and adventures. Her first book, Jack the Freedom Dog, was not originally written with publishing in mind, but rather as a "mentor" story to encourage her students to write about their own pets.
The idea for June's latest book, Journey to Marlsgate, came to her unexpectedly when she was smitten by an elegant little dog named Ruby while visiting Marlsgate Plantation in the small town of Scott just east of Little Rock. She uses her considerable imagination to bring to life the story of Ruby's quest to find a home at the picturesque setting.
She may believe the best description for her is "teacher," but she can also now be called "author"—of both a children's book and a book for dog lovers of all ages.
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