Local woman publishes children’s book about being yourself


Accepting who you are and not trying to be anyone but yourself is the focus of “Mackie-Who?” – a new self-published children’s book by Jacksonville Beach resident Ashley Davis.

An avid reader herself, Davis said she wanted to impart her love for reading to her daughter and reads to her daily. Drawing on her lifelong passion for writing, she would jot down ideas for stories she had that she thought would make good children’s books. But it was her desire to give a copy of “Mackie-Who?” to her daughter for her first birthday that really drove the timetable of getting her first book published.

“I wanted to create a unique gift for Ruth for her first birthday that would last forever,” Davis said.

The book centers around the characters of Ruthie and her puppy, Mackie. One day, Mackie decides he no longer wants to be a puppy; he wants to be something different. He spends the day parading about dressed in different costumes that he enthusiastically shows off to Ruthie – Mackie-Moo the cow, Mackie-Roo the kangaroo, Mackie-Doo the rooster and so on. At the end of the book, Ruthie patiently explains to Mackie, “You are you and that is better than anything else you could try to be or do!”

“The idea of the book is that we should all just be ourselves,” Davis said. “I think that is as important for little ones as it is for the adults reading this book to their children and grandchildren. We need to love ourselves and embrace the way that God made us.”

Real-life Ruth, who is just over a year old, and real-life Mack, a six-year-old Labrador Retriever mix rescue dog are the best of friends. Davis said she and her husband couldn’t have imagined a more “gentle giant” than Mack to be Ruth’s best bud.

“¿Quién es Mackie?”

Davis and her husband Andrew belong to Beach Church in Jacksonville Beach and have made over a dozen missionary trips to Costa Rica, even living there for a year and half, returning to the United States in 2013 to start their family.

The missionary trips and interaction with the children of Costa Rica inspired Davis to create a Spanish version of the book “¿Quién es Mackie?” and dedicate it to the children of Bajo Tejares, Costa Rica.

They visit the mission in Costa Rica twice a year now and Ruth joins them. While they were living in Costa Rica, Mack made the trip with them as well, so the children at the mission are very familiar with him and always ask after him.

Davis plans on reading her children’s book to the children of the mission when she visits them in December.

“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to share this story with the children because the community there needs to hear this message and know that they are perfect the way they are,” Davis said. “The community of Bajo Tejares doesn’t always feel hopeful, valuable and loved. Laura Mendez Campos (the translator) and I dedicated this book to the children there because we believe in them, and we believe in their capacity to change the world.”

Davis said she had such a fun time creating her first book that she’s already working on a second children’s book. She plans on translating all of her future books into Spanish – not just for the children in the Costa Rica missionary, but for Spanish-speaking children in the United States as well.

“We have a huge Spanish speaking population,” she said, “and a very small selection of Spanish children’s literature for people to read.”

The 24-page paperback books are available on Amazon and iTunes for $9.99. A portion of the sales from the Spanish version will go to fund education programs for Faithful Servant Missions in San Roman, Costa Rica.