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Dogs, author make popular visit to Stilson
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Author David Sargent Jr., center, reads from one of his children's books Tuesday at Stilson Elementary. Faculty, students and their parents packed the school gym and were particularly fond of his dogs, Emma and Spike. - photo by ROGER ALLEN/special

    Children’s book author David Sargent Jr. came to Stilson Elementary School Tuesday to read several of his books to the kids, as well as introduce them to his canine companions, Emma and Spike. The dogs are the stars of his most recent books and were an instant hit with children, parents and staff that had assembled in the Stilson gym.
    He opened his visit to Stilson by reading one his books and then bringing out the central character Emma, a black and tan wire-haired chihuahua. She entertained the kids for a few minutes, and then Sargent brought out several more dogs, each of whom performed for the kids. Sargent had teachers in the audience hold the dogs, to the delight of their students.
    The son of accomplished children’s book authors, David Sr. and Pat Sargent, David Sargent graduated from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville with a degree in architecture. But he never looked for a job as an architect, for he quickly discovered that his parents submitted a book he had written as a lark for publication, and it was accepted.
    Sargent said the family compound is in Prairie Grove, Ark., where he lives near his parent’s house, and close by his brothers, Mike and Todd, and his sister Daina. With the publication of his first book, “Buffy's Revenge,” which recounts the antics of his mother's Pomeranian, his writing became the central focus of his life.
    Sitting in the library at Stilson, Sargent said 15 years later, he lives to travel around and share his books with school children across the United States. Once the schools are in session, he describes his schedule as a “blur.” He doesn't stop his travels until schools begin summer break, and then he said he returns home to catch up on his sleep.
    Sargent has now written 37 books that comprise four separate series of books. He said that 20 of the books soon will be out of print, and he now focuses on the two most popular of his series: “Best Friends” and “Doggie Tales.”

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