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Local author to read from his new Christmas kids book

Authors Dan Woll and Shelley Woll pose with their beloved Bernese Mountain Dogs, Sarah and Bosko, who are featured in their new children’s book Sarah Saves Christmas. Shelley’s tradition every year is to draw a big Christmas card on poster board, so that’s where the idea for the book came from. Dan will be reading the book, along with Bosko, at the Somerset Public Library on Dec. 18. (Submitted photo)

Author and former area school superintendent Dan Woll and his daughter Shelley have stepped into the realm of children’s literature with their new book Sarah Saves Christmas.

Dan will appear at the Somerset Public Library, along with his Bernese Mountain Dog and one of the lead characters in the book, Bosko, on Dec. 18, at 11 a.m.

“Shelley and I love our big, floppy Bernese Mountain Dogs and we love little kids,” said Woll. “Perhaps the best writing is done purely for fun and that’s why we did this.”

According to Woll, the book is based on the family’s true-life experiences with his dog Bosko and Shelley’s dog Sarah.

“All stories are true and some even happened,” Woll said. “This book is informed by our family life. We really have two dogs, the pie incident, the bathroom incident. It’s part of family legend.”

Woll said the “heartwarming” story is about two sisters and their beloved dogs, Sarah and Bosko.

Katie and Shelley, the sisters, love their Bernese Mountain Dogs. Sarah is a wise dog and takes care of everyone else, Woll said.

“She has her paws full taking care of silly Bosko and the little girls,” Woll said. “Bosko thinks he is funny but his tricks cause trouble. It’s up to Sarah to take care of everything and save Christmas.”

Woll said the book would not work without his daughter’s art work. Shelley and her dog, Sarah, live in Fort Collins, Colo., where they enjoy hiking and skiing together. Shelley graduated from Colorado State University and enjoys reading and writing.

Shelley adopted Sarah from the Bernese Mountain Dog Club of the Rockies Rescue Group in 2008.

According to the author page from the book, Sarah loves to swim, play in the snow and be with her best friend, Dolly. She is an extensive traveler, having been to Wisconsin, Alaska, Colorado and California with Shelley.

The author page also says that Bosko, who lives in River Falls with Dan and his wife, Beth, loves to run, play, cuddle with people and comfort people in care facilities. Eventually the Wolls would like to turn him into a therapy dog, once he is more mature.

Dan, who spent years as a public school teacher and principal, was the superintendent of the St. Croix Central school district for more than 20 years. While there, he began writing columns every week. Fifteen years ago, he started freelance writing for magazines and newspapers.

“It took a long time to get up the nerve to publish a book,” Woll said. “Writing is a unique art. Unlike painting, or pottery, or sculpting, the emotion is not implied. You put it right out there for everyone and it’s only in print forever. It’s a little scary, but well worth it. It also teaches you what Dr. Suess said: ‘Those who mind, don’t matter, and those who matter, don’t mind.’”

Woll also said he hope the book encourages children to read and to draw and write their own stories.

Woll is also the author of North of Highway 8 and co-author of a political thriller, Death on Cache Lake.

Woll’s experiences as an educator, mountaineer, cyclist, husband and father are big influences on his writing, according to his biographical information in the new book.

Somerset Library Director Norma Scott said she is excited to have him visit the library.

“He was happy with the other two books, but he’s absolutely thrilled with this one,” Scott said.

Sarah Nigbor

Sarah J. Nigbor serves as a regional editor for RiverTown Multimedia, a position she began in April 2017. She joined RiverTown Multimedia in October 2013 as a news reporter for the New Richmond News, before being appointed editor of the Pierce County Herald in Febraury 2015. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Spanish and French in 2001. She completed a minor in journalism in 2004. 

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