Monday, August 8, 2016

Dear Reader by Karen Lee Stevens

Dear Reader…

So, I’m going to admit something to you right off the bat… I dreamt of being a veterinarian since I was knee high to a ladybug. (Bet you thought I was going to say grasshopper, didn’t you?) Well, I like grasshoppers well enough, but I’m enchanted by ladybugs. Plus, they are thought to be good luck symbols that are here to remind us that life is short and not to let our petty problems cloud a single day. But, I digress…

Let me just say that I worked for a veterinarian for a year during high school and fainted during my first surgical assist, so I promptly erased that career choice from my mental chalkboard.

Fast forward, oh, 30 years or so, and I’m running this great nonprofit organization called All for Animals, where we train dogs to be therapy dogs and have this awesome read-to-a-dog program called ARF! (Animals + Reading = Fun!), which inspires kids to become better readers. Totally fulfilling stuff!

Still, there was an item on my bucket list that hadn’t been checked off and that was this:  BECOME A PUBLISHED CHILDREN’S BOOK AUTHOR. I had written a book for grown-ups years before called All for Animals: Tips and Inspiration for Living a More Compassionate Life, but now I had my sights set on writing a children’s book. There was just the teensiest problem:  I had never before written for children. Heck, I didn’t even have kids of my own! All I knew was the book was going to somehow involve animals.

And then something amazing happened. Have you ever had one of those surreal moments when everything feels great, stars are aligned and body and spirit are in balance? Totally mind expanding, right? Well, one Saturday night in the not too distant past, one of these magical moments tapped me on the shoulder. It was about 9 pm, the house was dark and quiet and I was attempting to solve my “Problem of the Moment.”  What, pray tell, was I going to do for my 50th birthday?! Should I throw a party? Should I book a trip to an exotic locale? Should I indulge in a spa day? (My answer to all these questions, by the way, was a resounding You Bet!)

Something else actually popped into my head that night and it was a voice that decreed (quite loudly, as I recall):  “You need to write a children’s book. And, by the way, it should be called Animals Have Feelings, Too!”

BOOM! BAM! I felt like I had just received a shot of adrenaline or, at the very least, chugged a can of Starbucks Doubleshot Expresso. It was at that moment that I pictured the finished book in my head. In the weeks that followed, I dusted off my trusty computer and, after writing three, embarrassingly wimpy drafts, I finally came up with the final manuscript. (Let me take this opportunity to thank all the parents, teachers, librarians and other writers who read my early work and encouraged me to keep trying!)

So, there you have it… my journey from sniffing smelling salts on the floor of a veterinary surgical room to autographing (and “pawtographing”) copies of my own children’s book.

Something tells me the fabled good luck of the ladybug rubbed off on me as I truly feel that my dreams came true!

 About the Author:

Karen Lee Stevens is the founder and president of All for Animals, a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating a compassionate world for animals and children through humane education and literacy programs that nurture the human-animal bond.
Karen is also an author and a Certified Humane Educator who, for the past 14 years, has given presentations to thousands of elementary school children and has helped them learn how to treat animals with love and respect.
In February, 2013, Karen launched ARF! (Animals + Reading = Fun!), a unique literacy program that gives children from all walks of life an opportunity to improve their reading skills and inspire them to become life-long readers by reading aloud to specially trained therapy dogs.
Her latest children’s picture book is Animals Have Feelings, Too!: Exploring Emotions From A to Z.
For More Information
About the Book:

Title: Animals Have Feelings, Too!: Exploring Emotions From A to Z
Author: Karen Lee Stevens
Publisher: All for Animals
Pages: 32
Genre: Children’s Picture Book

Filled with humor and whimsical illustrations, this enchanting and educational A to Z guide takes young readers on a journey through the alphabet with a lovable Labrador retriever named Sandy, who shows kids that animals and people share many of the same feelings. From A is for Affectionate to Z is for Zonked, Animals Have Feelings, Too! helps children to understand and express their feelings and to treat animals with kindness and respect.

For More Information

  • Animals Have Feelings, Too!: Exploring Emotions From A to Z is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

No comments:

Post a Comment