top of page
​Land of Dushkin... the story behind the story
In the Fall of 1995 while sitting at the dining room table, the Atwood’s (John, Mary and Jenean) were pitching ideas for a book of poetry.  There was no better place for a family collaboration of ideas, for this table had served food, provided entertainment and was a spawning place for many family ventures throughout the years.

In an attempt to draw upon a family connection for a title, Jenean asked her father if he remembered any of the stories that grandpa Atwood (Richard Atwood Sr.) told him.  After a brief reflection, John was able to recall bits and pieces of stories his father told him as a child… Aesop’s fables, etc.  Perhaps more importantly, the family surmised that grandpa Atwood welcomed each new child into the family by placing him/her on his knee and sharing those same stories.  To her surprise, Jenean remembered she had experienced that same ritual.

But John also revealed that it was one rhyme grandpa Atwood said over and over… something like “landofdushkin,” a rather nonsensical word or so it seemed.  And it was perhaps at that very moment, their destiny was revealed.  Jenean miraculously took that nonsensical word and with a wide-eyed smile said, “The Land of Dushkin… a mystical, magical storyland for children!”  It was as though the heavens opened and grandpa Atwood looked down and said, “That’s it, now go with it!”  Had Richard Atwood Sr. been trying to pass this on for generations, we may never know.  But as one who had experienced the ritual, Jenean was perhaps the chosen one. Somehow, she got the message.

To say that John, Mary and Jenean were startled was indeed an understatement.  But things would never quite be the same.  A few days later, Jenean left Cleveland, Ohio for Los Angeles, California.  While working on a Master’s program in film at Ohio University, she indeed had many avenues yet to travel.  However, due to this epiphany, in one month the Atwood’s had written the framework for eight stories including characters and landscape.  Thus, the Land of Dushkin series was born.  In 1999, the Atwood’s self-published their first children’s book.  Blue Spots! Yellow Spots! was unveiled in Los Angeles via Milligan Books and as it is often said, the rest is history.

Richard Atwood Sr., husband of Bertha, was a quiet and soft-spoken man of few words.  Today, however, his Legacy can speak loudly and often to children around the world.
bottom of page