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Local woman writes children’s book

July 28, 2011
By STACEY KUKKONEN - DMG writer ( , The Daily Mining Gazette

HOUGHTON - With a little "snip, snip" and a "sew, sew," Boni Ashburn's new children's book has come to life.

The Houghton native's new book, "I Had a Favorite Dress," has finally been published after four years in the making.

Lit up by bright, colorful illustrations, the book surrounds the story of a little girl as she grows out of her favorite dress. The children's book is complete with illustrations by Julia Denos, who incorporated a combination of digital collages, watercolors, graphite and colored pencil drawings blended with clippings of pictures and actual needle and thread work. The result is a 30-page, hardcover book, bound to be someone's favorite.

Article Photos

Stacey Kukkonen/Daily Mining Gazette
A page is shown from Boni Ashburn’s children’s book, “I Had a Favorite Dress.”

"I got the idea from the Yiddish folk tale 'The Tailor,'" Ashburn said.

The tale Ashburn told to her children was the story of a tailor whose overcoat gets smaller and smaller. Ashburn said her daughter, who was 6 years old at the time the book was written, is "girly," which led the way for a new twist on the old story.

"The original version has cloth buttons and suspenders and my children would ask, 'Why is it a cloth button?'" she said.

In the story, the little girl grows out of her "favoritest" dress over time. Her mother, urging her not to "make mountains out of molehills," instead repurposes the dress several times so the not-so-little girl in the end can still wear it.

"My daughter loved it," Ashburn said. "I wanted to play off the idea of reusing."

When she was writing the story, she turned to the most logical source - her daughter's closet. Ashburn said she thumbed through items which could essentially be made smaller over time. She also decided to follow a seasonal pattern in the book which paved the way for what the dress would morph into next.

"I wanted them to be fun," she said of each changing garment.

Ashburn, who has written books before, said she normally writes more gender-neutral books, but she wanted to write something for her daughter. Her other two books include "Hush Little Dragon" and "Over at the Castle."

"She has two brothers, so it was fun for her and we do lots of gender-neutral stuff around here," she said.

"I Had a Favorite Dress" is available on and at Barnes and Noble. The book is set to be released Aug. 1. Locally, the book can be found at Book World and Jim's Foodmart in Houghton, where Ashburn works. She can also sign the books or have them made out to others by request.

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