Neighbors pen new children’s book ‘Goodnight Lakewood’

Image courtesy of Jaclyn Amend and Emily Calimlim

Jaclyn and BD Amend turned what neighbors love about our neighborhood into a whimsically illustrated adventure in “Goodnight Lakewood.”

The Lakewood Hills couple reads the famous children’s story “Goodnight Moon” to their children with regularity, and saw spinoffs of the book in their travels, such as “Goodnight Telluride,” a favorite vacation spot. They decided to tell a similar story through the eyes of their children and highlight the things they love most about our neighborhood.

“Goodnight Lakewood” takes readers around White Rock Lake, visiting with monk parakeets, a duck wedding and, of course, the local coyotes. The rhyming couplets keep the story moving and the colorful illustrations will keep children engaged.

The Amends have two young boys, and their 3-year-old son recognizes different parts of the book as familiar places he has visited with his family. Though not all the sites are in Lakewood proper, the story is meant to be told through the eyes of a child and provide familiarity and entertainment.

Jaclyn worked in public relations, and BD did a stint writing entertainment reviews for the Austin American Statesman, but the Amends had never written a book before. “It was a great learning experience,” says BD. “It was dipping our toe into another world.”

Jaclyn wrote the book over the course of 12 drafts, and went to look for a illustrator in the area. When they contacted local illustrator Eric Barclay and found out he needed several years lead time, they realized they might need to find a new strategy. Barclay pointed the Amends toward a message board where authors connect with young illustrators, and they found Emily Calimlim, a Lubbock artist whose drawing of chicken in fighter jet goggles caught their eye. They made contact and found out that Calimlim would soon be in Dallas, and they took her for a drive around the neighborhood for inspiration. She was in from the start.

The family used Hill Print Solutions, a long time East Dallas printer whose former CEO had played baseball with BD’s father in the neighborhood as children. “We kept everything local as much as we could,” Jaclyn says.

The book can be purchased in pre-sale online now, and the books should be ready to be delivered by Dec. 1 at the latest. “We have been shocked at the support,” says BD. Five percent of all profits will benefit the Lakewood Early Childhood PTA.

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Though they are the most familiar with Lakewood, the Amends have not ruled out writing another book about a different Dallas neighborhood, but for now they are focused on their boys and getting this book off the ground. “We live and breath it every day,” BD says of the neighborhood. “I really love this part of town.

“I just hope my kids enjoy it,” Jaclyn says. Books can be purchased here.


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