Crossed Off List : UTRGV assistant professor self publishes children’s book - Brownsville Herald: Local News

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Crossed Off List : UTRGV assistant professor self publishes children’s book

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Posted: Monday, April 22, 2019 1:15 pm

Nikkie Hodgson has known Ricky the Raindrop for years, having told his story to her children since they were babies.

It was always her kids’ favorite bedtime story, and now thanks to her daughter’s editing, a student’s drawings and a little good fortune Ricky the Raindrop is a children’s book on Amazon.

“I always said I’m going to put Ricky the Raindrop in a book and I’m going to publish it some day,” Hodgson, an assistant professor of communication at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley-Brownsville said. Every year it would be part of her New Years resolutions, but in 2018 she finally got the publishing project off the ground.

She had been carrying the book around on a flash drive for several years after she observed a student sketching in class, showed him some rough drawings and asked him to “draw it up for me.”

“I had it all in my mind. … I would say it took him about three weeks to come up with the illustrations. He brought Ricky to life and then he brought all the other characters to life,” Hodgson said. “The characters just happen to be my family. Ricky is my bother Boy, we call him Boy, but he has my son Miguel’s adventurous personality, and then the other characters are my two sisters, my mom and dad and my grandmother.”

Meanwhile her student, Vin Lapsley, had left town to finish his degree at another school. When she caught up to him about the drawings she found out that his hard drive had crashed and the flash drive version was all that was left.

So she had the basic book on a flash drive and had been carrying it around for awhile before running into Brownsville artist Don Breeden, a close friend of her late husband Les Hodgson. Breeden knew the ins and outs of self publishing, the flash drive worked, and after five or six meetings they uploaded the book to Amazon.

Ricky the Raindrop has been available on Amazon for $12.95 for about a month and is selling well, Hodgson said. She will have a book signing from 10 to 10:30 a.m. April 30 at the Children’s Museum of Brownsville.

Hodgson is a Harlingen native and had lived in Brownsville since 2002 but moved to South Padre Island five months ago. She has two college-aged children, Miguel Ricoy and Giselle Ricoy, who edited the book.

She is a member of the Gladys Porter Zoo board of directors and is active in other civic organizations.

glong@brownsvilleherald.com

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