Feathered friends: Sorensen book published about hens, rooster

Diane Sorensen of North Newton feeds a strawberry to Ken the rooster, who lives with several hens. He is the Ken in the title of Sorensen's new book, "The Tales of Mr. Ken Rooster and the Six Sassy Hens," with a release date of Oct. 4. Wendy Nugent/Harvey County Now

By Wendy Nugent, Harvey County Now

NORTH NEWTON—Diane Sorensen used to make up stories when her now 28-year-old daughter was growing up—stories that would make her laugh when she was little, stories that were sweet, she said.

Sorensen also read those same kinds of stories to her daughter.

Now, others can read stories Sorensen made up in her new book, “The Tales of Mr. Ken Rooster and the Six Sassy Hens,” which has a release date of Oct. 4. The publisher of the 48-page paperback book is Mascot Kids!, and it’s for children ages 4 through 8.

“I have found this whole process just joyful,” Sorensen said.

The inspiration for her book was her and her husband Conrad Snider’s chickens.

“We actually have eight: we lost one pretty recently,” she said, adding they had nine when she wrote the book although there are seven chicken characters in the book and that the publishing company showed her artwork of various artists/illustrators for her book.

She chose Maggie Sullivan to illustrate it.

“Isn’t she good?” Sorensen said about the illustrator’s work. “Her illustrations are just adorable. It was her idea to use the scarves on them. That was a cute touch.”

The couple does have a rooster named Ken that watches out for the hens in their backyard coop.

Sorensen said one of their chicks turned into a rooster, although they thought they had all hens.

“I was with him when he first tried to start to crow,” she said.

The names given to the chickens in the book are names of the actual Sorensen/Snider chickens. Those include Sunny, Nugget, Barbie, Fancy, Henny and Penny.

“I have a soft heart for pets,” Sorensen said. “I’ve always written down or made up stories.”

Sorensen said her publisher was great to work with and the whole process took about a year, as there were developmental edits, like adding a chapter. This is the first book Sorensen’s had published, although it’s not the first she’s written.

“My hope is that when children read and listen to these stories, they really get a feel for chickens,” Sorensen said.

People say chickens are stupid, which is far from the case, Sorensen said. Ken the rooster actually has a name for Snider, and the couple hears it when Snider pulls up to the house.

“They are complex,” she said, adding they communicate with each other constantly. “They’re silly. They’re curious about things. They’re a lot of fun. They’re sweet spirits.”

When Sorensen spends time with them outside after work or on weekends, she finds them to be calming.

“They give positive energy,” she said.

Sorensen wrote the stories during the pandemic summer of 2020, and each story felt inspired, she said. She’s not sure how long the book took to write, but it wasn’t years. The process included reading chapters to her husband.

“I never knew I’d end up a chicken person, but here I am,” she said.

All of the tales are based on true stories with embellishments, like the time the veterinarian in Peabody, Dr. Skinner, saved Henny’s life.

The chickens are 3 years old.

“Got them as new hatchlings,” Sorensen said, adding the hens are egg-laying hens. “They have not been laying very much with the heat. They need their energy to keep cool and eggs need a lot of water to make.”

Their chicken coop even has its own address, which has “1/2” added to the couple’s address.

Purchasing the book

Those who wish to purchase the book can pre-order on the following websites: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Mascot and Books-A-Million. Locally, folks can purchase it at The Carriage Factory Art Gallery, 128 E. Sixth St. in Newton, or Wichita at Watermark Books & Café and Lucinda’s.

The cost is $17.95.

0 replies on “Feathered friends: Sorensen book published about hens, rooster”