This adorable little picture book has been difficult to find in the wild, unless you want to buy it in bulk. That’s great if you want to distibute it to religious ed classes, but not so great if all you want is a single copy to share with a child.
I’m happy to report that it’s now available on ebay! And if you’ve read it and enjoyed it, please consider leaving a review on Goodreads!
Five years ago, I came across this St. Patrick’s Day meme, commemorating Gertrude of Nivelles, who is popularly considered to be the patron saint of cats. Her feast day also being March 17, she is always overshadowed by the more famous patron saint of Ireland.
I had never heard of St. Gertrude of Nivelles before, but the meme got me thinking about all the saints who had close connections to animals: St. Jerome, who lived with a lion; St. Anthony, who preached to the fishes; St. John Bosco and his dog, and so on.
“I bet I could write a picture book about saints who loved animals!” I thought. And that’s how A is for Anthonywas born. Originally, I simply intended to write a collection of a few stories about saints who had animal friends or famous encounters with animals. As I struggled to figure out how best to organize the stories, I had the idea of arranging them alphabetically and making an alphabet of saints. That made my task harder (it’s not easy to find 26 stories about saints and animals!), but the result was worth the work.
At the time, believe it or not, I could find no alphabet books about saints, apart from a very old one by Robert Hugh Benson. Since then, more than one Catholic small press has come out with an ABC of saints, so readers today have more choices. But so far as I know, A is for Anthony is the only alphabet book focused on both saints and animals!
The funny thing about this origin story is that you won’t find Gertrude of Nivelles in my book. It turns out her connection to cats is actually very tenuous, so she was replaced by other saints who had stronger connections to animals.
Writers, it’s not too late to participate in Tara Lazar’s annual idea-generating challenge, StoryStorm. It started off as a challenge specifically for picture book writers, but now it’s broadened and is open to all writers who want to generate new ideas. Learn more about it here. You can register to win prizes now through January 7.
This year, I’m starting off with a couple of ideas that go back to my picture-book writing roots. But I hope to generate some new novel ideas for the upcoming writing year, as well!
Whether you participate in StoryStorm or not, I wish you happy writing in 2023.
The Kindle version of my self-published picture book, Sprinkles to the Rescue, is now live on Amazon! If you have Kindle Unlimited, you can access it for free. Reviews of the book would be greatly appreciated.
The paperback version is available for preorder. You can also order it through Barnes and Noble if you prefer to avoid supporting Amazon.
Small presses can be great, providing opportunities for emerging authors to publish their work. Some small picture book presses, for instance, concentrate on the “quiet” stories that might be overlooked by the Big Five publishers.
But one of the dangers of new small presses is that they don’t necessarily last. Twice now, I’ve had a picture book picked up by a brand-new press, only to have the press fold before my book could be published. Worse, I’ve known other writers whose books were published just days before their press folded, leaving them with a book they could not reasonably sell (because it had been published) but which was no longer available. OUCH! Writer Beware could tell you many stories like this.
All of which is to say, I was disappointed when Hurn Publications shut down last year before my book, Sprinkles to the Rescue, could be published. But I didn’t want to give up, so, I kept working on the project, and I’m pleased to announce that I’m going to be self-publishing it very soon. Keep an eye out for more information!