Authors turn Trouble into Hope

Co-author Sheila Duncan with a Trouble the Dog plush toy.


MARBLEHEAD — Author Sheila Duncan teamed up with a mother and daughter from Lynn to create a book aimed at bringing comfort to children.

Duncan, a Marblehead native, and Melanie Fleming, who now lives in Danvers, are co-authors of “Where There’s Trouble, There’s Hope,” which is expected to be printed Thursday. The book is illustrated by Joan Samuelson, Fleming’s mother.

Duncan created the character of Trouble the Dog in 2006 after her niece, Kendra, lost her dad, grandmother “Nonnie” and the family’s golden retriever “Irish,” all within a short amount of time.

Inspiration to write the series began one day when Duncan was watching a television show about children with cancer, and tried to change the station before her niece became upset. Instead, Kendra decided she wanted to do something to help the kids. She drew a picture of a small, grey puppy and named him Trouble.

Duncan took the image and turned it into the star character of her book Here’s Trouble,” which is the first in the series. A big hit, she later turned the character into a plush toy to give to children in need of comfort.

She has since delivered thousands of Trouble the Dog plush toys and books to children undergoing chemotherapy and patients receiving services through organizations including The Shriners Hospitals for Children, Boston Children’s Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital Pediatric Oncology and Hasbro Children’s Hospital.

Duncan has worked with The Ronald McDonald House, Children’s Miracle Network, Meeting Street and Emmaus, a shelter for homeless families that helps children affected by the earthquake in Haiti and families recovering from the Boston Marathon bombing.

Fleming, who helps Duncan with her media relations, felt inspired by her story and wanted to be a part of it.

“We met for coffee and I just loved what she was all about,” Fleming said. “When I saw what she was doing, especially for children, I knew I wanted to get involved.”

Fleming and Duncan worked together to co-author the story involving the beloved character of Trouble and a new character named Hope.

Now is certainly the time to introduce little Hope to the world,” Duncan said. “This generation of children is more stressed than any before them, so “Where There’s Trouble,There’s Hope,” is more important than ever.”

“I think what Sheila is doing is brilliant — and very much needed in today’s world,” Fleming said. “My mom, a very talented artist, was thrilled to participate in this project and feels that the children’s book is now part of her legacy.”

“Where There’s Trouble, There’s Hope,” can be pre-ordered by calling 781-631-0887. Free shipping is available for a limited time.

Bridget Turcotte can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @BridgetTurcotte.


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