Specs of Spectacle Island:
A story of an island from trash to treasure

Spectacle Island has a diverse and intriguing history. The transformation of the island that was once a garbage dump for the city of Boston leaking pollutants into Boston Harbor for 50 years is a remarkable reclamation of land from an environmental disaster.


Specs of Spectacle Island: A story of an island from trash to treasure is the story of Specs, a chipmunkel born and raised on Spectacle Island, and his journey during the Big Dig. Chipmunkels who were living on Spectacle Island were forced to live underground to escape the construction and turmoil during the island's restoration. Specs, annoyed having to live life underground, leaves the island in search of a better life.

Written by Donna M. Keefe and illustrated by Amber Luecke, Specs of Spectacle Island: A story of an island from trash to treasure is a fully illustrated, full-color, 40-page historical fiction for young readers.
Now available in paperback, $12.00
Get an autographed copy
from the author with
Jabberwocky Books
in Newburyport
"This lump of coal has been transformed into a beautiful diamond."
        - former Boston mayor
Tom Menino at the opening
day of Spectacle Island
What people are saying:

“I lived in Boston during the Big Dig project so bought this book for the grandkids to learn about the project…Very clever style of writing to make a children’s book educational and interesting for all ages.”


“I enjoyed this book immensely. Having lived through the Big Dig, I realized I really didn’t know much about the history behind it. I learned so much from this wonderful story.”


“…Spec's story touches on many relatable issues; he looked a little different from his peers: it took courage to leave the familiar; had to make new friends; and adjust to new surroundings. He learns that challenging ourselves and taking a risk can change our perspective…Adults will learn the history of the Big Dig and Spectacle Island. There is something here for everyone !”


“Incredibly cute, charming, educational and visually appealing children’s book! Specs the chipmunkel takes you on an adventure that tells the story not only about the importance of greening our urban landscapes but more importantly about the spirit of exploring, being courageous, making friends, and what makes home so special. And the side-by-side historical facts of Boston’s Big Dig make this book a real winner!”


“This is such a great book. A history lesson for the children of Boston - they will never walk around the city again without looking for Specs and his friends. Specs takes you through his life during Boston’s Big Dig and shows you the twist and turns he endured. A fun read for all.”

"Once an environmental disaster, Spectacle Island was transformed from a heap of burning trash into a beautiful lush island with trails, beaches, and great views of Boston Harbor. It is now one of the most popular islands in the Boston Harbor Islands National and State Park. We are pleased to have this brilliant and creative children's story about the restoration of Spectacle Island that teaches children about the environment and the importance of having access to public open space, clean water, and clean air."
- Kathy Abbott, President and CEO, Boston Harbor Now

Recycled furniture. Artistically painted found and used furniture recreated as functional art for any home or office environment.
Call 617-930-4740 or email to schedule an appointment to visit the studio. Custom painting of a piece of your furniture in your choice of colors is available. See Furniture ART for more information and painted furniture.



I am an artist, designer, and writer passionate about recycling and the environment, the use of public space, and public art. I have a tremendous appreciation for creative and unique design, reuse and repurpose, and how art and design influence our everyday experiences.
Specs of Spectacle Island: A story of an island from trash to treasure is my first children's book published in June 2021. Historical fiction for young readers, Specs of Spectacle Island is the story of a chipmunkel named Specs, and the renewal of Spectacle Island in Boston Harbor. Once a garbage dump for the city of Boston polluting Boston Harbor for 50 years, it tells the fascinating story of restoring an environmentally destructive land turned into a state and national park. Living in Cambridge for 30 years and during the Big Dig, I followed the developments taking tours of the Big Dig and the Zakim Bridge, the Rose Kennedy Greenway, and finally, Spectacle Island when it opened to the public in 2006.
I currently reside in Salisbury Beach, enjoying the natural beauty of the North Shore and living near the ocean with its restorative benefits that accentuate my creative endeavors. With my love of design and the arts, I am a member of the Salisbury Cultural Council and the Salisbury Beach Betterment Association. Additionally, I offer interior design consulting services and custom-painted furniture for your furniture using your color palette.