Local sixth grader publishes children's book

Lila Hoxie just may be Milford’s youngest published author.

At age 11, the sixth grader at West Shore Middle School recently published a children’s book that she wrote and illustrated herself, “Out With the Old In With the New.”

The book tells the story many preteens may be familiar with: In her book, the main character Rosie, who is about to start sixth grade, finds that her longtime best friend seems to have replaced Rosie with a new friend. Rosie feels left out until she herself makes a new friend.

The moral of the story, explained Lila, is sort of like the Girl Scout song, “Make new friends but keep the old.”

“This story is on friendship and the challenges that can come with that,” according to a write-up on Amazon.com, where the book is listed for $10.99. “A great book written by young author and illustrator Lila Hoxie. Sure to be a hit with other young children everywhere.”

Lila wrote the book as part of a program at the Giggling Pig Art and Party Studio in Shelton. The program was designed to let participants write a story and create the accompanying illustrations and then follow the process through to publication.

The participants all chose different topics. Lila said her story was based in part on her own experiences in life, and those that friends experienced. She said she thinks the book is especially fitting for children in grades two through six because those are the years when such a shift in friendship is likely to happen.

Writing and drawing are more of a hobby than a career goal for the young Milford girl. She said it’s a bit too early to talk about a career path, though she doesn’t really think it will be publishing. Right now, she tends to lean toward interior design.

Lila also likes to sew — she recently made her own handbag; and she’s a golfer, playing on the junior team at Great River Golf Course.

Lila is also very fond of animals. That is why she took the first $200 in proceeds that came from selling about 50 of her books and donated the money to the Milford Animal Shelter.

“I love animals,” Lila said, explaining that a good friend has a number of dogs and she likes being around them. Lila and her mother, Kristen, took a walk one day to the nearby animal shelter to see the dogs, and Lila came away wanting to do something to help them.

“I remember she felt badly for them,” Kristen said.

Lila felt especially bad for several pit bulls she saw at the shelter in need of families.

“I know that pit bulls have a bad reputation, but they’re really so sweet,” she said.

Donating that first royalty check to the shelter was a natural thing to do. Lila said she felt really good after publishing her book, which she estimates took 50 hours between writing, illustrating, proofreading and editing. And then after she donated the money to the local shelter, she felt good again: So from this one book she got to feel good twice.

“It was a lot of work, but it was a great experience,” Lila said.

Lila is the daughter of Kristen and Robert Hoxie, and she has a brother, Hunter, who is in seventh grade.

Kristen said her daughter has been invited to St. Mary’s School to read her book to students there, and Lila said she definitely plans to do that.

As for future book proceeds, Lila said she will probably start saving them to offset her own expenses for crafting and sewing supplies and the like. And if there is enough, it may start going into her college fund.