Camas Police Officer Tim Dickerson remembers that he did not like to read books when he was a child.
“My mother was a schoolteacher, and she made me read,” he said. “My older sister read ‘Gone With the Wind’ in two days and ‘War and Peace’ in three days. I hated to read until almost 25 years ago.”
Dickerson was bored while on a layover at an airport, so he purchased a book related to police work at one of the stores in the terminal.
“I got hooked,” he said. “Now, I almost always have a book.”
Dickerson, a father of two, remembers reading “Green Eggs and Ham,” “Carl the Big Rottweiler” and the “American Girl” books to his daughter Jessica. She is now 21 years old, while his adopted son Jesse, 3, enjoys the “Thomas the Tank Engine” books.
Dickerson got the idea to write “Napping With Daddy” — a children’s book — when he and his wife Debbie were baby sitting a friend’s little boy.
“He was a baby falling asleep on my chest, and I slept,” he said. “It reminded me of my daughter napping on my lap.”
Scenes in the book include a child dreaming he is an astronaut soaring through the stars. Other scenes feature kite flying, surfing and sharing honey with a bear.
This is the first book for Dickerson and the “Napping With Daddy” illustrator Amy Barnes. They became acquainted at United Camas Association of Neighborhoods meetings.
“I knew she was involved with art,” Dickerson said. “She did this book as one of her projects for her master’s in arts program.
“The art is awesome for making the words come to life,” he added. “When Amy illustrated it and sent me the original book with illustrations, it took my breath away. The way she used the textures and fabrics and paper backgrounds to bring it to life, it was just amazing for her to use that medium to bring it to life. It’s just fantastic.”
While it took Dickerson a day to write the book, it was a longer process for Barnes.
“It took me one month to complete the illustrations,” she said. “It was a month of solid work – pausing only to eat and sleep as I recall. It was in July. We were trying to sell our home in Camas.”
Barnes and her husband Scott – a former Camas High School band director – lived in Camas for 11 years before moving to Edmonds, Wash. Amy Barnes is a former stay-at-home mother who remembers enjoying reading “Alice in Wonderland” and a series of Disney picture books. She recalls reading a variety of books by Maurice Sendak and classic “Winnie the Pooh” stories to her daughters Kelsey and Lauren.
Barnes was also previously an artist-in-residence at Dorothy Fox Elementary School and a language arts/English teacher at CHS for three years. While helping with UCAN, she attended a national neighborhood convention in Arizona. Barnes currently teaches art and literature in the Edmonds School District.
Dickerson said it took a long time to get “Napping With Daddy” published.
“I did some research and found that most book publishers want authors to come to them through an agent,” he said. “It got ‘back burnered’ and put away for a couple of years. I had gone ahead and got it copyrighted.”
A representative of Author House called Dickerson and said he could self-publish.
“It was kind of like a ‘bucket list’ – things to do before you die,” he said. “It cost us, and we are close to breaking even. We hope to put money toward the next one.”
Their next collaboration is titled “Napping With Daddy: A Pirate Adventure,” and Dickerson wants to write a third book to complete the series.
As a Camas police officer for 24 years, he hopes local residents will enjoy reading his book to their children and grandchildren.
“I think it’s so important that parents read to their children so that parents get the importance of reading,” Dickerson said. “My secondary goal is to get kids to read. Children who grow up with a love of reading will go so much further with their education.”
He is available to read his book at local schools and libraries.
“Napping With Daddy” is available to purchase online through www.BarnesandNoble.com, www.amazon.com and www.authorhouse.com.
“I hope people take a look at it and read it and have a happy holiday season,” Dickerson said. “We’re supposed to have a super snowy winter. Sit by a fire, and read to a child.”
For more information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.nappingwithdaddy.com.