In 2001, a boy with a passion for ice cream took down an outdated law in West Bloomfield to allow ice cream trucks in his neighborhood. His mom captured his story in a children’s book.
By Jessie Cohen
In 2001, a 9-year-old boy with a passion for ice cream took down an outdated law in his hometown of West Bloomfield. The law forbade ice cream trucks from driving through the neighborhoods, but — thanks to Josh Lipshaw and his army of support — the law was unanimously overturned that November.
Now, nearly 18 years later, Josh is an aerospace engineer in Denver. His mother, Suzanne Jacobs Lipshaw of Waterford, has immortalized his story in her new children’s book titled I Campaigned for Ice Cream.
Jacobs Lipshaw has been teaching elementary school for 20 years. She works specifically with struggling readers and children with special needs, and this experience has taught her just how important it is to engage children in what they are reading.
“If reading is difficult, the child isn’t going to want to pick up a book,” she said. “My job as a writer and teacher is to present topics to kids in a way they enjoy and can understand.”
In the past, Jacobs Lipshaw has engaged children in non-fiction science topics through her writing. Each year, she chooses a single scientific topic for her class at Moraine Elementary School in Northville to delve into. This year, her class will be getting a sea turtle as a part of their oceanography studies. Some of her non-fiction scientific children’s books include The Little Satellite That Could: The Expedition of the CubeSAT RAX and Mighty Mahi: A Sea Turtle’s Journey Home.
Her decision to write her son’s story came after taking a non-fiction writing course that focused on a biographical style of writing for children.
“I always knew I wanted to tell Josh’s story because it is inspiring to kids,” Jacobs Lipshaw said. “As a teacher, I know kids need to feel empowered that they have the voice and the power to speak out, even for something as simple as ice cream.”
The 32-page illustrated children’s book is published by Warren Publishing and available now. “This is, pun intended, a sweet story that kids will love, and parents will appreciate for the delicious and encouraging lesson it teaches their children,” said Mindy Kuhn, president of Warren Publishing.
Jacobs Lipshaw’s goal for the book is to inspire and empower children. She believes Josh’s story is special because he saw something he felt was unfair and was determined to change it. The author’s advice to young people who want to be involved with community activism, but aren’t sure where to start: “Ask an adult for guidance. Don’t be afraid to take a small step, or even a big step.”
A book release for I Campaigned for Ice Cream will take place at 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 22, in West Bloomfield Town Hall Boardroom 4550. Jacobs Lipshaw is thrilled to host the launch there because it is the same room where Josh gave his speeches and was able to create change 18 years ago.
“It’s a great way to bring it full circle,” said Jacobs Lipshaw. Josh will also be in attendance at the book launch and will sign books with his mother.