The African proverb “It takes a village to raise a child” means the work of raising (and educating) a child cannot be done alone. Rather, the entire community must participate to some extent in the task.
In this case, a group of people (some, complete strangers) came together to work on a project; a children’s book with a very important lesson to teach children – be respectful around dogs. By working together, this group is also helping to make a wish come true. Henry’s wish to teach children how to interact safely with dogs.
I invited two volunteer friends to listen to the story and provide feedback. Graciously, they did so, and their contributions were incorporated, to strengthen the lesson for children, and additional programs suggested which might benefit from book sale profits.
Upon hearing the story, one of the volunteers asked if the characters (dogs) were based on real life examples, and did I have a ‘Merlin?’ I did not. Turns out, there was a dog at the shelter I volunteer at, that had been adopted and renamed……MERLIN! My volunteer friend put me in touch with Merlin’s mom, a Marketing Executive and Graphic Designer. Sarah Kirk-Douglas permitted me to feature her dog as one of the characters in my book, and has also been incredibly generous with other aspects of this process. I could not have done it without her. Sarah has kept me on track, provided invaluable strategies for marketing and promoting the project and kept me focused and positive, during what has been a very emotional and stressful roller-coaster ride.
Sarah’s mom Nadine – an editor was also quick to volunteer her assistance. I have read the words over so many times, having a fresh pair of eyes, and feedback from someone reading the story for the first time was extremely helpful.
The stunning campaign photos were taken by Sarah’s Father in law Garrie, of Nexus Photography. The day of the photoshoot started off cloudy, thankfully the rain held off. Our models (four, and two-legged) connected beautifully (as children and dogs should), and everyone had fun playing, more than ‘posing.’ That feeling translated through the images.
I would drop samples of paperwork off to Sarah’s husband Craig at his place of work (close to my house), and he would graciously transport the samples back home to Sarah.
Craig’s Grandmother even joined the affair by leading contributions towards the project!
Paul – a member of Sarah’s design team has volunteered his time and suggestions, to bring my vision of a classic, traditional-looking storybook come into being.
Ryan at Rayment Collins has spoken with me many times about the project, spending time to research and find the best option to create my classic children’s book. The objective; keeping print costs down so the book is affordable and generate a margin of profit that will be contributed to so many worthwhile causes.
Mike at The Drafting Clinic scanned my illustrations ensuring the highest quality image was available for the design team. Mike is taking the best care of my artwork until such time as I am able to make the trip to collect them.
The incredibly beautiful song used as an accompaniment to the slideshow was written and performed by Curt Carter & Tom Connelley. I had the pleasure of communicating with both gentlemen and granted permission to use the song in collaboration with our project. It was the first song I listened to, and I could not bring myself to choose a back-up song. I would consider that ONLY if they denied my request. Thankfully, they did not. In fact, it seemed as if everything was falling into place – as if it was meant to be. Carter & Connelley are kindred spirits.
These are truly songs from the heart. Without preaching, Carter and Connelley weaves a musical landscape allowing one to feel the beauty and harmony of nature within one’s self. We like to call it “environmental music with a message”.
To celebrate the book (prematurely), and as a thank you to (local) friends and supporters, a ‘Launch Party’ has been organized. Again, Sarah Kirk Douglas has lead the way, organizing production of tickets and raffle prizes! There has been no shortage of prize donations and a wonderful group of people purchasing tickets to attend the party.
The Event will be held at Boston Pizza (Keswick, ON) and our MC/DJ for the evening is Manager, Shawn Parkinson. Shawn has a way of getting everyone involved; entertainment and audience participaction. Shawn came up with a number of ideas for the evenings festivities including a buffet meal of pizza, pasta, salads and other menu items – a selection to suit all!
Thank you for the prize donations (at time of post);
HENRY PET PRODUCTS
STELLA & DOT (independent stylist Amy Lazar Kleiman)
THE HAIR COMPANY SALON
BRENDA’S GIFT BASKETS
BOSTON PIZZA (Keswick)
It warms my heart to know that so many people believe in, and support this cause. I am very grateful to you all.