Who knew that something as everyday as garbage collection could be the inspiration for a first-time author’s children’s book?
Yet that is exactly what led Bristow resident Siobhan Scott to write “The Little Trash Truck Keeps the Neighborhood Clean,” published in May by Mirror Publishing.
“I did this for fun and enjoyment,” Scott said, “And because my son is trash truck-obsessed, and to make something lasting for kids.”
The 26-page book is a story told in song to the tune of “Wheels on the Bus” that children can learn quickly. Scott’s 3-year-old son, Bryson, already knows all the words, she said.
Illustrated by Fx and Color Studio of Ellicott City, Md., the pictures remind Scott of the bright green trash truck he sees twice a week in his family’s neighborhood.
“Every trash day, my son would run to the window and all around the house as it would go by,” Scott said. “He didn’t want to miss a moment. Once I started singing, it only took a day or so, and then it became our trash truck song.”
Trash pick-up in Scott’s neighborhood is performed by Shifflett’s Waste Services, a family-owned business in Stafford County.
Scott recently visited the company’s office to present owner Danny Shifflett with a copy of the book. Scott said she wanted to thank Shifflett not only for helping to keep the neighborhood clean, but also for inspiring the book.
“It is nice someone would write something like this for children,” said Shifflett, a lifelong Stafford resident. “It feels good when we come through neighborhoods and you see children excited about trash trucks. Curtains fly open and they’re dragging parents down the driveway for a closer look.”
Scott said she thinks young children are so fascinated by trash trucks because of the bright colors, the noises they make when braking and backing up, and the sight of trash bins being lifted and emptied by a mechanical arm.
Stuck at home during the pandemic like so many others, Scott did not start out to write a children’s book. A criminology major at George Mason University, she had no previous experience in writing or publishing. She spends a lot of time singing to her children as she works, she said, and the words just came to her in the moment.
“I made it up and went with it,” Scott said. “I decided to make it into a book for [Bryson], not for profit.”
That whole process from copyright to publication took only six months, Scott said. Now, with an initial printing of 250 books, Scott has already donated 100 copies to Inner City–Inner Child, a Washington-based charity that seeks to bring arts to the city’s youngest children in low-income neighborhoods.
“This has given my book an extra special meaning to me, being able to give back to the community,” Scott said. “Their families struggle to pay for food, rent and bills, leaving items like books ... a luxury that we all take for granted. This hurts my heart, so I’m ready to start doing more.”
Originally from Surrey, England, Scott lives in Bristow with her husband and two children. The book is one way of doing something special for them, she said. That talent of creating stories in song about everyday activities is one she hopes to use again for a second book.
“The Little Trash Truck Keeps the Neighborhood Clean” is available on Amazon and at Barnes and Noble for $9.99.