Mom’s Choice Awards is excited to announce another post in our interview series where we chat with the inventors, designers, publishers, and others behind some of our favorite family-friendly products.
Hello, Mom’s Choice readers! Welcome to another interview where we get to catch up with our amazing honorees. For this interview, we were able to sit down and chat with Katelyn Ward, author of the Mom’s Choice Award-winning children’s book, Dog Love: A Picture Book for Dog Lovers! How do you show your dog you love him? By doing everything he loves! Follow along in this helpful story to learn all the ways to show your favorite furry friend that you care. This book is a perfect read for dog lovers everywhere, whether they be young or old. Keep reading to find out more about Katelyn and her amazing book, Dog Love! 🐶❤️
MCA: Hi Katelyn, I’m so happy you could join us for this interview, and a huge congratulations on your Mom’s Choice Award! As a fellow dog lover myself I first have to say, I absolutely adore your book. It also made a great gift for some of the young dog lovers in my life! Thank you for writing such a sweet story. So let’s get down to why you are here with us today, to tell us more about yourself and how you came to write such a fabulous children’s picture book!
Katelyn: I was born and raised in the small town of Palestine, Texas where the internet is slow, the people are neighborly, and there are lots and lots of trees. Reading and writing have always been great passions of mine. Books were everything from an escape from reality to a dose of reality. I loved the written word and had no problem reading, but I never tested well on my English tests in grade school. My grades got so bad, I was put in remedial reading classes with English Language Learners. What I wished my teachers had understood was that I simply didn’t understand how they wanted me to answer the questions. For example, they always asked me what the author’s purpose was: to entertain, to persuade, or to inform. I always felt that if an author can’t do all three then they weren’t a very good writer. It was much later in life that I found out that I am on the autistic spectrum (specifically SPCD), and I just think a little differently.
MCA: What lead you on your path to becoming an award-winning children’s book author?
Katelyn: I have two bachelor’s degrees from the University of Texas at Tyler in accounting and English. After college, I spent three wonderful years working at a daycare where I learned that you can never run out of good picture books to read. It was the kids in the preschool class that inspired me to write picture books. They loved anything to do with animal science, but I had a hard time finding books where animals didn’t act like humans. I wanted to write a book that would not only teach them about animals but would also teach them empathy, and I believe I accomplished that with Dog Love. I hope to continue writing books like this in the future, I already have three manuscripts that I am writing and polishing (one of which, of course, is Cat Love).
However, I never would have actually had the confidence to try and publish my book without my Aunt Ashley and that’s why my book is dedicated to her. She never let me give up on my dream of being a writer, one that I’ve had since the third grade. That’s when I stumbled upon BiblioKid publishing, a company that gives courses on writing, marketing, and publishing as well as incredibly helpful critiques by Brooke van Sickle. I learned so much about writing picture books, the publishing world, and how much I loved it!
MCA: Tell us what the response to Dog Love has been like from your readers, both big and small!
Katelyn: So far I have received great reviews from adults and kids alike. I currently work as a paraprofessional at an elementary school (while I am working on my teacher’s certification) and the students are always fascinated by the fact that I am the author. I have been able to read my book to different groups of students at the school and it’s always fun and exciting.
MCA: What was your inspiration for writing Dog Love?
Katelyn: I love working with kids, reading to them, and getting them excited to learn. It’s so important to me that young kids find educational books engaging, and not just silly books. I also have a heart for animals, especially domesticated ones because I feel that they’re our responsibility. So it was natural for me to start with man’s best friend. I wanted to write a book that would teach young children that loving an animal was more than just showing affection, it’s making sure all its needs are met. My main goal was to spread a little empathy in the world, but the side goal was to teach them about some of the different breeds simply because they’re fascinating. That’s why I made a fact page at the back of my book.
I live in Texas with four cats and one dog. My dog’s name is Junior, he’s an Australian Shepard, and I love him to death. His cute six-month-old self is illustrated on the title page of my book.
MCA: Oh my goodness, he makes the perfect cover model! Thank you for a wonderful interview, it was an absolute pleasure. I cannot wait to see what book you come out with next. Maybe your cats can be the next cover models! 🐾
You can learn more about Katelyn Ward and her award-winning book, Dog Love: A Picture Book for Dog Lovers by visiting her MCA Shop pages.