FRENCH SETTLEMENT, LA (WAFB) - She wanted to write adult fiction, but it's a children's book that has a Livingston Parish teacher's name on it. Wendy Woods, who's been in education for 19 years and is the assistant principal at French Settlement Elementary, says she intended to write for adults but got stuck and put that story in a drawer. She has yet to finish that writing.
Now with one children's book published and another due to hit stores in a matter of days, she says she's seen an increase in students interested in reading.
Countless times she had read her book, "Welcome Home Indigeaux, A Louisiana Adventure," to students at the elementary school. All the students eyes are glued to her as she reads and gets the students involved, asking them questions.
"Anybody remember why she named her toy Jazz?" she asked, followed by several hands waving in the air.
Woods says after watching her children, Caleb and Abbygale, buying books on a weekend trip to the bookstore, she realized her target audience was right in front of her.
"I would let them read my writing and I would ask them what do you think. Sometimes I got thumbs up and sometimes I got no mom no."
It took about a year for the book to reach stores.
"Kids will be able to get a taste of the different regions of Louisiana by going on a trip with Indigeaux," she said. "Indigeaux visits Oak Alley, the state capitol, and the Mississippi River Bridge."
Sherry Martin, an art teacher for gifted and talented students in Livingston Parish, illustrated the book. She says it took her five drawings to get the cover just right.
"The dog has a blue eye and a brown eye and I guess that's what makes it unique. I was thinking, when I do this book I'm going to do two brown eyes. I sent it to Wendy and she said no," said Martin.
There's a reason Woods was so particular about the way the dog looked. Indigeaux is her family's pet.
"She's a very mischevious dog," Woods said.
Students at the school are waiting to read about Indigeaux's next adventure, "Yo-Ho Indigeaux." A pirate adventure based in New Orleans.
"I want to know if she's going to do something on a ship or anything else crazy," said fifth grader Emily Armand.
Woods says family members have told her they'd like to see their pets in future Indigeaux books. Even Martin added her dog, Buddy, to the next book.
Both teachers hope they have inspired their students to be creative and try new things.
They've even started to think about a third Indigeaux book.
"Writing is a horrible obsession," Woods said. "So once you start a book, you're looking forward to the next."
She's also finished writing a christian fiction book due out in January.
Woods and Martin have done book signings for the children's book. They say the book has already made it across the globe.
"We did a book signing at Oak Alley. We sold books to tourists from Switzerland, Australia, Canada, and Mexico," Woods said.
The book is available online at Amazon, Books-A-Million, Barnes & Noble, Cavalier House Books in Denham Springs, Bayou Book Seller in Hammond, and Oak Alley Plantation and Cajun Village in Sorrento.
Woods says the book is also an accelerate reader so if you're child needs to earn AR points, they can.
The duo will also be at the Creole Festival in French Settlement in October.