The Cows Go Moo
The Cows Go Moo
Questions from Bridget:
Absolutely! My parents weekly brought me to our public library in Hingham, Massachusetts. I can remember exactly where the children’s section was. I would always gravitate to books on how to draw animals and cars, two things that I love! I would also check out a lot of picture books to bring home and read either on my own or with my parents. Of all those years spending time in libraries who knew I would eventually become a children’s book author and illustrator and have my own book on the shelf!
If I were to choose one of many, I would choose, “Start Something That Matters” by Blake Mycoskie. He is the guy who started TOMS shoes. When you buy a pair of TOMS shoes another pair is donated to a child living in a place or situation where they might not have access to good footwear. He calls this, “One for One.” The very evening that I finished reading that book, I said to myself, “I want to do something like that with my book!” Since my book series is about cows I came up with the, “Buy-A-Book / Give-A-Cow” project. Ten percent of the profits from all of my sales of my books and Moo Merch goes to providing real cows to a family’s living in poverty through Heifer International. The families are trained on how to care for their cow and start their own cow milking business to help provide for their family’s needs. I am very thankful that I read that book when I did!
I am full of ideas! So are my family members. Whenever we come up with a book idea, I write it down on a piece of paper and put it in my “book ideas” file, or I type it into the “notes” on my iPhone. As of right now I am focusing mostly onideas for, “The Cows Go Moo!” series. I have some other animal-based stories that I am working on as well. One of which, is about our Silver Labrador Retriever named Earl! Both of my daughters encouraged me to write, “The Cows Go Moo!” based on a silly song I wrote back in high school. A song I wrote in college has become thebasis for my second book, “The Cows Go Moo Shuffle!” Which will hopefully publish before the end of the year. Then my youngest daughter Sophia said, “Dad you should do a coloring book!” “The Cows Go Moo! Udderly Crazy Activity & Coloring Book” will be available in May 2019! Ideas are cool already, but when you see your ideas become a reality it is very cool!
Since middle school I have been involved in supporting non-profits such as World Vision, Compassion International, Boston Rescue Mission and others. Over the years I would regularly volunteer at homeless shelters, clothing drives, soup kitchens, food banks and as a youth worker. My dad was a homeless person for the majority of his adult life, so I have a special desire to support people in need. I have also had the opportunity to serve in schools, camps, and orphanages all around the world including Guatemala, Russia, Haiti, and Peru, as well as in many cities within the US. My support of Heifer International provides the opportunity and the training to families in need of assistance and this not only provides money for food, clothing and school, but it also builds other important aspects within a person’s life. Heifer International also does this cool thing called, “Passing on the Gift.” Whenever one of these family’s cows gives birth to a calf, that calf is passed along to another family in need within their community to continue the means to help end poverty! I have personally been given so much in my life and it is a privilegeand joy to pass that on to others.
For sure! There is an author who lives near me whose author name is G. Johnson. She wrote a wonderful children’s picture book entitled, “Seacoo.” The book was beautifully illustrated by Yifan Luo. The story is about a little panda bear named, Seacoo who loves to read. The story is a fun tale about his family, making friends with Coco and the beauty of change. When I was first considering turning my song into a picture book, I met with G. Johnson to get her advice based on her own experience of writing and publishing. The best piece of advice she gave me was, “finish the book!” This became a driving mantra and encouragement to help keep me focused and MOOving forward to finish the book! I encourage you to check out, “Seacoo!”
Be curious! What I mean by that, is to look for the amazing, funny, mysterious, and fantastical happenings in the world (or universe) around you, within your family, school, friends, experiences, likes, dislikes, dreams and imagination. Gather these ideas in a file and write about some of them. One helpful tool that I learned about writing was to do a Story Map! Take a blank sheet of paper, put it horizontal and write your idea right in the middle of the page. Now start brainstorming! Write down as many funny, strange, challenging, etc. etc. elements, memories, personal stories, etc. etc. that you can think of… this is often called a brain dump! Draw little pictures, circle words and connect themes. You can occasionally take this Map out and add to it again and again. Then you can start to write about it. Get the ideas out, have fun and learn as much as you can from others about becoming an author. Keep at it and don’t forget to, “finish the book!”
Yes! Because I have a catchy song that goes along with my book, I have received many videos on Facebook of kid’s singing the song, holding up the book, dancing and mooing around! It has been very funny, encouraging and heart–warming to see and hear that my book is bringing joy into people’slives and homes. I also hear a lot from parents. One just told me, “My son loves your book!” One of my favorite reviews was from a grandmother who said, “I was playing the recording of “The Cows Go Moo!” song and reading the book to my five and half year-old grandson when all of a sudden he exclaimed, “Grammy this is better than “Who Let the Dogs Out?” isn’t it?” Great job with the book and catchy tune!” Some of the best experiences are on author visits when we sing the song together, read the book and do some drawings of the characters. Instant feedback and great fun!
Great question! There are many books I can think of where that would be very cool to be able to do. The book that comes to the front of my mind right now is actually a series of wordless picture booksby Aaron Becker, “Journey, Quest & Return.” I love the fantastical settings, the colors, the way the main character can draw a boat or anything rightwithin the story to be able to escape danger or travel to a far away land. Being a wordless book allows the reader to imagine the words for themselves, to scream, to greet, or to cry with their own voice. The intricate artwork and vivid colors are amazing. I have always loved the medium of pen & ink with watercolor. That was actually how I started doing my first book, but then I moved into using all ink with Copic markers. More recently I have been doing some digital artwork on an iPad that I received for Christmas! Aaron Becker and I both live in Massachusetts, so I guess the both of us currently journey in the same land! Moochas gracias for interviewing me for your terrific website!