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.
We had the pleasure of sitting down Miranda Mittleman, author of the adventurous children’s book series PAWS and THINK!®. Miranda grew up in Baltimore, Maryland, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in Marketing from Towson University. Not only is she a published author, but she’s an avid runner, black belt in karate, and even competed on Wheel of Fortune! All of that said, her true passion has always been poetry. She was inspired to write the PAWS and THINK!® series while living in the city with her supportive husband, Michael, and their sweet mutt, Weaver.
PAWS and THINK!® is a children’s book series that teaches valuable life lessons through the eyes of her rescue dog, Weaver. The first two books in the series are titled I Am Important and We Are All Different, and they help teach lessons to young children on self-importance and diversity in a fun and relatable way.
It was such a treat to be able to hear all about her inspiration and development of the PAWS and THINK!® series straight from Miranda. The entire interview is published below, so take a look!
MCA: Miranda, we are so glad to be taking part in this interview series! We, as well as our evaluators, loved reading Weaver’s adventures. Can you tell us a little about what inspired your series?
Miranda: In 2015, My husband and I rescued a puppy named Weaver through a wonderful organization called “We Rescue Love”. Weaver was happy and adventurous from the day that we brought him home.
We were living in downtown Baltimore at the time, and would take Weaver on walks through the city a few times a day. The dogs we met and places we saw were my inspiration for PAWS and THINK!®. We used to take Weaver to Riverside Park where he would run around with his puppy pals of all different breeds. This gave me inspiration to write We Are All Different. Living a block from the National Federation of the Blind of Maryland, we would often see people walking with their service dogs. This was part of my inspiration for I Am Important.
I’ve had a true passion for poetry since I was very young. Writing poems became somewhat of a hobby for me, and I frequently wrote them for all sorts of occasions. When I started to get inspiration from our walks in the city with Weaver, these poems came very naturally to me. I wanted to write through Weaver’s perspective, giving him the kind, curious, and optimistic personality that I truly feel he possesses. I think that children can easily relate to Weaver, so I wanted to use my creativity to teach them important lessons through Weaver’s eyes.
MCA: That is wonderful that you have such an amazing tool in Weaver for talking to students about these hard issues. Can you tell us a little more about your school visits?
Miranda: When I began my journey as an author, I knew that I wanted to share my books with as many children as possible. I thought it would be so much fun to visit schools and teach young students about the meaning of inspiration, as well as touch on the important lessons learned in the books. I did not anticipate the large number of schools that would be interested in having me visit, nor did I anticipate just how meaningful these visits would be for me.
I’ve found myself visiting one to four schools every week, and having the incredible opportunity to meet thousands of children who are eager to learn. I decided that I did not want to charge schools for my author visit. Not only was I aware that many schools do not have a budget to bring in an author, but I also felt strongly about wanting to donate my time so that I could share my stories with as many children as possible. Additionally, I’ve been fortunate enough to develop great relationships with so many kind and supportive teachers, principals, librarians, and parents. I’m so appreciative for these amazing opportunities!
MCA: Amazing. And we hear that you also began your own charity, called the Charity of the Quarter Program?
Miranda: From the moment that I began the publishing process, I knew that I wanted to use this as an opportunity to give back to my community. I created the Charity of the Quarter program, giving a portion of the proceeds from every PAWS and THINK!® book sold to a different charity or non-profit organization each quarter. I’ve worked with some pretty amazing organizations so far, like the Baltimore Humane Society and Maryland SPCA. Both of these organizations have missions that I truly support and it meant the world to be able to donate and help support their causes. This quarter we are working with the Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter (BARCS). As PAWS and THINK!® grows, I plan to start working with other charities across the county that support children and animals.
MCA: You and Weaver are quite busy! What is next for the PAWS and THINK!® Team?
Miranda: This past year has been incredible for PAWS and THINK!® I’m beyond excited for our next book to come out later this year! I’m thrilled to be working with Mascot Books again on this project. As my publisher, they have been very supportive throughout the process and believed in me from the start. While I’m excited to keep visiting new schools, I’m also eager to revisit schools from this past year and share my new book with their students. I hope that I am able to keep giving back to wonderful charities so that I can help make a difference in the lives of pets and children everywhere!
MCA: Miranda, we are so grateful for you taking the time to speak with us. We absolutely cannot wait to hear what Weaver gets into next; we know it will be wonderful.
Thanks to Miranda Mittleman for taking the time to chat with us! You can visit the PAWS and THINK!® Website here!