Reading goes to the dogs

Feb. 04, 2013 @ 04:54 PM

Students at Prospect Elementary squealed with delight as David Sargent's friends showed off their many talents. 

Sargent, an author, came to Prospect Monday afternoon with his four dogs, the stars of many of his books, to introduce them to the students. The kids watched as the dogs sang, danced and did tricks. 

Sargent, who wrote his first book at age 29 and has written 56 books since, encouraged the students to use their imaginations, but to also look around and draw from their lives. 

"All of the books about my friends are true," Sargent told them. 

Before Sargent's arrival, students read a few of his books. They were excited for his visit, Media Coordinator Sharon Voigt said. 

"The kids have been really anticipating his visit," Voigt said. "He was just as special as they though he would be."

Many of the students ordered his books and posters. Sargent signed each book and poster after the presentation, asking for the name of each student as he signed the poster or bookmark. Each autograph was complete with a paw print stamp. 

"We knew they would be excited about the dogs coming and they were," Voigt said. 

Sargent, who travels to schools across the country, said that when he comes into a new school, the kids often know the names of all the dogs, but do not know who he is. 

"They love these dogs," Sargent said. 

Sargent said he enjoys "seeing the kid's faces when they meet the dogs."

Sargent travels with a Pomeranian named Spike and three Dachshunds – Emma, Vera and Daphne. 

He has been traveling since 1996. A local school invited him to come speak and it "snowballed" from there, he said. 

Sargent encourages the students to read and to write about every day events in their lives. A message that often sinks in. 

"I get a lot of stories mailed in from kids," Sargent said. 

He wrote his first book as a joke for his mother, he explained. She suggested it was good enough to publish and he has been writing ever since. 

Sargent is from Arkansas. He has been around dogs for most of his life. 

The students were eager to ask about the dogs and get his autograph after the presentation.