BAR HARBOR — Ellen Dohmen will visit the Jesup Memorial Library with her book “Rock Friends of Acadia: A Treasure Hunt for Children and Adults” for a special Story Time on Thursday, June 4, at 10 a.m. She will return to the library on Friday, June 12, at 7 p.m. for an author talk and book signing.
While hiking Acadia, Dohmen kept seeing faces in the rocks around the park. She dubbed them her “Rock Friends,” giving them personalities and names, such as Big Nose, Grumpy and Rabbit. Now, Dohmen has compiled some of her most recognizable friends into the book.
Dohmen said she thought about putting together a Rock Friends book for more than 10 years, but finally was inspired to publish the book because of Acadia National Park Superintendent Sheridan Steele’s “No Child Left Inside” mission and the joy she gets from sharing her Rock Friends with the children she meets in Acadia. “If I see a rock friend and I see a kid, I’ll interact with that kid,” she said. “I’ve never had a kid not be enthusiastic.”
Dohmen designed the book to be a treasure hunt in Acadia for children and their families. She includes which part of the park the Rock Friend is in with a general location and urges children to find them.
The children and Rock Friends on the cover of the book are particularly special to Dohmen. “I was hiking in the summer, five or six years ago, and I saw a small boy coming towards me. I was coming down Dorr Mountain, and he was coming down Cadillac, which is a very steep trail,” Dohmen said. “I asked him if he was hiking all alone, and he said he was just ahead of his family. He was the youngest of three … and we started to talk and we hit it off. We’ve become extended family.” She calls the rocks on the cover The Codgers and sees them as the quintessential best of friends. While hiking up Penobscot, she introduced the family to The Codgers, and the subsequent photo of two of the children pretending to be The Codgers became the cover.
Dohmen already has plans for another Rock Friends book. She hopes that her book will inspire parents and grandparents to take children outside and let them explore and use their creativity to find their own Rock Friends.
Copies of the book will be available for purchase, courtesy of Sherman’s, at the story time and at the author talk.