The idea came from Katrina Dohm at a hockey game that Jayne J. Jones Beehler's husband was coaching.
"She said, 'Have you ever thought about doing a children's book?'" said Jones Beehler, who is a grant writing consultant and the founder of Margaret's Missions, a chaperoned travel service for travelers with disabilities. "To be honest with you, it was never on my radar screen. But I thought, 'That would be an interesting thing to do.'
"(Dohm) ended up getting cancer and, after it was in remission, she came back to me and said, 'We're going to do that children's book about hockey.' Then I said, 'Yeah, that sounds like a good thing to do.'"
That was what started the "Drop the Puck" chapter book series for Jones Beehler, who grew up in Detroit Lakes, and is a Concordia College (Minn.) graduate. Dohm has done the illustrations for all five chapter books. The fifth book in the series, "Drop the Puck: Hockey Every Day, Every Way" was published in October by Wise Ink Creative Publishing.
"It's my favorite because it tells a great Minnesota story," said "Through a connection with (Dave) Hakstol's (family), they introduced me to Lila, who was born with cerebral palsy (and lives in the Twin Cities area). They gave her the first three books and she said she was going to play hockey.
"She's wheelchair-bound, but through mobile technology equipment, she was able to skate and she absolutely loved it. And I thought: This is the story of the fifth book because it tells the story of Lila's grit and determination and love for the sport."
There are illustrations of Lila in the book that are based off of photos of her playing hockey.
Even though she has written chapter books on hockey, Jones Beehler is not a former player and her daughter, Emily Beehler, also did not play hockey.
"I met my husband (Chris) 10 years ago and he grew up playing hockey in California," she said. "But my brother played in college (Augsburg, 1991-94) and in the ECHL. I always tell people that I was the rink rat sister who went to every single game and followed it all. The rink was a part of every single weekend from when I was 5 until through college."
After graduating from Concordia, Jones Beehler would go on to get her law degree from William Mitchell College of Law and has been a lawyer, worked for U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman, was the executive assistant to Minnesota Speaker of the House Steve Sviggum, worked in the administration for former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and be a professor of political science at Concordia-St. Paul.
In her chapter books, there are characters with Down Syndrome, a character with autism, a sled hockey player and a character with cerebral palsy.
Jones Beehler is living near Sarasota, Fla., and her sixth chapter book is on schedule to be released in May.
"The first book is really good for a first- and second-grader (to read)," she said. "The second book is second- and third-graders ... I kind of feel like we roll with the readers at the same time. The sixth book is going to maybe be the last in this series. These all have illustrations throughout the books and a glossary for words they may get stuck in.
"Then I'm going to switch over to the old school, paperback chapter book ... without a whole lot of illustrations. But we're going to go with the same characters."