Pleasant Hills mom pens children’s book |
South Hills

Pleasant Hills mom pens children’s book

Pleasant Hills resident Nicole Leckenby, author of "Summer Vacation"

Nicole Leckenby hopes her new book, “Summer Vacation,” will not only serve as a fun bedtime read for youngsters but will raise money for children suffering from cancer.

Leckenby, 43, of Pleasant Hills, and a mom of two boys, released “Summer Vacation” Nov. 12. One dollar from each book sale will be donated to the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, which raises money for research, awareness and to support families in the fight against pediatric cancer. The book can be purchased on

“I really just wanted to do something good for kids,” Leckenby said. “I have my own children. I’m thankful that they are healthy, but I know that there are a lot of kids that aren’t. And it’s so expensive when a kid gets sick.”

Leckenby, whose favorite subject growing up was English, has been writing for several years.

She released her first book in 2008 through Publish America, titled “My Crazy Life.” The book was about just that, all of the “random, weird things that happened to me,” she said.

She also produces a quarterly online publication, The Holiday Cafe, which gives writers and artists a chance to get published.

For “Summer Vacation,” she teamed up with her mom, Mary Dunn, who did all of the illustrations for the book.

It was a nice way for the two to work together on a project, they said.

Dunn, 67, of West Mifflin has been painting since she was 11 years old. She recalls a second-grade assignment where she drew a bird that was so realistic that everyone thought she had traced it.

A few years ago, Dunn started a YouTube Channel, Pittsburgh Artist Studio, where she teaches people how to paint online. She also teaches painting at local craft stores.

“It’s like my escape,” she said.

The only other time she had done illustrations was when her younger daughter, Natalie Belin, wrote a book of poems.

This was a learning experience for Dunn, she said.

For Leckenby, it was nice to work with her mom, because they already had a connection.

Leckenby got the idea for the book from her son, who is in first grade this year. She was thinking about how children on the first day of school talk about what they did that summer.

That’s what the book is about. The little boy in the book uses rhyming words to talk about his summer. The book is geared for children in preschool or kindergarten.

“I think it’s just a fun bedtime story,” Leckenby said. “It’s just a fast-paced book. It’s a good, quick, one more before bed.”

Dunn said she thinks the book turned out “really cute.”

She’s also excited her daughter will have something they made together for years to come.

Categories: Local | South Hills
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