CHARLESTON, W.Va. - "A Shovelful of Sunshine" is a book geared to give children as well as adults a glimpse into the resiliency and outlook of brave coal miners.
Author Stacie Vaughn Hutton, a native of Parkersburg, grew up near the coalfields of southeastern Ohio. Hutton, 41, who now lives in Columbus, Ohio, wants her book to reveal the world of the coal miner who maintained a bright outlook while facing the dangers of working underground.
The story is about a little girl with hopes of seeing far away places and her coal miner father who encourages her to overcome fears and pursue her dreams, Hutton said.
"Her coal miner Daddy works underground and helps her understand there is danger all around," Hutton said.
The miner teaches his daughter to be optimistic regardless of circumstances. It's a message people of all ages have found appealing, Hutton said.
As research for her book, she read letters written by coal miners and interviewed miners and their families.
While a miner's job has historically been a dangerous one, workers did not dwell on that, she said.
"Miners are extraordinary people," she said. "They say you can't live life like bad things will happen. You have to live with hope and optimism."
Hutton said the book would appeal to ages 9 and up.
"It goes through the history of mining in words and illustrations," she said. "I hope people see miners as the deep, thoughtful and dignified people they are. I don't think my story has been told."