I started Little Labradodle Publishing initially to bring my children's picture books to life. It didn't take long for me to see the potential to provide assistance to others who were looking to do the same. My passion to give back has caused me to expand my mission to include creating and support storytellers of the future.
Different Types of Storytellers
In my case, I was a grandmother who loved picture books and reading with my grandkids. We loved to make up stories together and encourage them to use their imagination. My little labradoodle would jump up with us and we started making up stories about him. I wanted to write down the stories to share with them, as a sort of legacy project. It was something that they would have long after I was gone and I hoped they would share with their kids and grandkids some day. Of course, it has grown to be much more than a legacy project.
There are others who tell stories with their art by creating beautiful pictures. Our illustrator, Len Smith, tells how he would sit in the back of the classroom and draw most of the time when he was in school. He found his love of visual arts and has become an amazing storyteller as we look at the emotions he captures with The Little Labradoodle characters. I'm sure there are kids doodling in their notebook, sketching in their sketchbook and wishing there was more support for the visual arts in school. Wouldn't it be wonderful to match them with writers and help them bring their work to a broader audience?
There are many who love to write and words flow through them so naturally. I always loved creative writing in school. I can credit that to a teacher of mine named Mrs. Shunny. She helped plant the seeds that grew into a love of writing and poetry. She even submitted a poem I wrote to the local newspaper and I was thrilled when it was published. I felt encouraged and validated. I would like to do that for others who have the drive to write so they too can get the support to bring their work to life.
Whether they are writing the next best-selling novel, a dramatic screenplay, a comic book, the words to a beautiful song or just journaling to document their feelings, they are the storytellers of the future.
When I was writing Puppy Pickup Day, I was contacted by a Children’s Psychologist who asked me if she could use the coloring books I had created for her clients. She had two Labradoodles that accompanied her to the office each day and were a great comfort to the kids she treated.
She thought they would also enjoy coloring pictures of Labradoodles as well. Of course I agreed, and had my illustrator create a few new ones so they could indeed color pictures of the dogs that they had grown to love. That was when I realized that some of the things I was creating could be used to help kids. Something as simple as a coloring book can make a difference.
A short time later, I heard from a third grade teacher, asking if she too could use the coloring pages with her class during the last week of school. It had been difficult to keep the attention of the third graders with the end of the school year approaching. She wanted a project that would be fun and engaging. Since I was at a critical juncture with my children's picture book, I had an idea!
We talked and I sent her the current version of my manuscript for Puppy Pickup Day along with storyboards and a few completed illustrations and the fun began. She teamed up with two other third grade teachers who were happy to participate. They read the story to their classes and asked the kids for feedback. They talked about the process of writing and editing. They shared the importance of getting input from kids to make the story the best it can be. They reviewed the storyboards and talked about how they are used by the author and illustrator. The kids loved the project!
The assignment for the last day was to write letters to us with their feedback. I was excited to read them but one letter in particular stood out to me. "I enjoyed this project." Sarah wrote. "I think I might like to be an author like you some day."
That’s when I first realized that Puppy Pickup Day could be more than just a children’s picture book, it could be a fun and engaging way for kids to learn about writing / illustrating and creating stories of their own. We will be creating a teacher's guide, storyboards, manuscript and discussion topics to support teachers and parents who would like to use the book in their classroom or homeschooling.
We cannot forget the importance of literacy and focusing on programs to put books in the hands of kids and help them learn to read. It is a gift that will provide many adventures and help them to grow into the avid readers and writers of the future.
Everyone has a Story to Tell
Each one of us has a story inside us begging to be told. Self-publishing is getting easier and more common with print on demand options, but it can be confusing to navigate. We have learned so much through our journey and are actively looking for collaborations that can bring programs to the community, schools, libraries and online. My hope is to spark something, support those who have the drive and desire to write or publish a book but don't know where to begin. I can see 1:1 coaching, working groups, workshops at libraries or schools, donations of books for those in need and a focus on literacy.
We hope to add other professionals to diversify and provide a wide variety of support. If you would like to be a part of our efforts, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
More info will be coming soon, so stay tuned and subscribe to our mailing list to ensure you are notified when new programs are rolled out.