Alumni Feature

Alumni Feature:


If you're not hooked by the title Buster's Ear Trip Him Up, we guarantee the pictures will pull y ou in. Inviting colors plus interesting and delightful details will make any children's book illustrated by Joe Hox (aka Joe Hoksbergen) a favorite.

Joe was already doodling in grade school, which eventually led him to an art degree from Dordt in 2005. He taught art in Pella Christian Schools for 12 years, and during that time, did some illustrating for a local children's book author, Lois Vermeer. Other smaller illustrations, art commissions, and graphic design gigs followed. 

In 2017, his wife, Katie, submitted some writing she had done to a few Christian publishers along with some of Joe's illustrations. They didn't pick up her book, but on publisher, New Growth Press, asked Joe to submit samples for a series they were working on. Before long, Joe landed a contact to work on the "Good News for Little Hearts" series. For Joe, it's been a joy to draw different animal characters in interesting environments while knowing these stories are helping Christian parents counsel their kids through struggles we can all relate to. 

Joe credits his Dordt art professors for helping him develop excellence in his craft as a way to glorify God. He loves that he can use images to communicate gospel truths and create playful images that spark joy in people's hearts. Find joy and Joe's work at and his Facebook page. 

Stephanie (BulTHUIS) bROUWER

So your kids won't read? Before you shrug your shoulders and blame it on bad DNA, 2012 Dordt alumna and blogger Stephanie Brouwer has some tips to get kids of all ages turning pages. 

Stephanie describes herself as the poster child for struggling readers, complete with frustration, tears, and well, you know the rest. For her, that changed when she had a teacher with a "contagious love for books" who also read aloud with great expression. She was hooked! 

With both special education and kindergarten teacher on her resume, Stephanie added stay-at-home mom to her portfolio after the birth of her two daughters, Ava and Emma. While never regretting the decision to stay at home, she missed teaching reading and reading books out loud to her students. Her blog a "Where Books are read and Hearts are Fed" fills that void and her girls are along for the ride. 

She shares book recommendations, reading tips for parents and teachers, and pulls faith lessons from both fiction and non-fiction characters. You can also find her tips on her Instagram account: stephaniebrouwerblog and her Facebook page

Stephanie and her husband, Nicholas (Dordt Ag: Business 2012) live near Clara City, Minnesota with their two daughters.