I Wrote a Children’s Book!

…yes, you read that right! I’m still a self-help writer for women who are single and may not have children, because that former period of my life was so defining. As mentioned in my earlier post and life update, I’m expanding into writing for parents and children. My themes of self-acceptance, diversity, and inclusion remain the same.

For this project, I’ve brought on a new co-author! 

What’s the book about?

Missy: A Dog’s Tale is my contribution to children who were once like me and experienced insecurities about their appearances. The children’s book is written for ages 3 to 7 and follows the journey of Missy, a dog who is self conscious about her physical appearance and wants to change it. She embarks on a mischievous journey with the help of her fellow furry friends and, along the way, learns about the importance of diversity and self-acceptance.

Introducing my co-author: my mom!

My co-author is my mom and best friend, Barbara Cleary! 

In 2010, I first wrote the text for Missy: A Dog’s Tale in graduate school, but I shelved the project and turned my attention to self-help writing. My mom continually encouraged me to bring the story to life and, 11 years later in 2021, we pulled the manuscript out of the archives to begin working on it. 

Barbara was hands on during the process: She’s a retired preschool and elementary school teacher of more than 21 years. She lent her teaching expertise to edit the text and directed the illustration process to create a more educational – and entertaining – story. She even makes her debut in cartoon form on page 13. (You’ll see!)

Barbara also curated a free discussion guide for teachers and parents, which will be made available on my website on our formal launch date of September 12. 

We hope you’ll meet us at some of our upcoming readings! Stay tuned for more details.

Who is Missy, anyways?

The children’s book was inspired by Missy, who was our family dog of more than 14 years. Unfortunately, Missy passed away while we were finalizing this book. Missy blessed us with many memories, and we hope to honor her spunky and loving nature by sharing her likeness with as many children as possible. 

Along the way, we feature a roundup of furry friends, who happen to be our late and current family dogs. Teddy is my dog and my constant sidekick, and he makes his cartoon debut on page 8. To date, he has two books dedicated to him, and he’s been mentioned in The Huffington Post and Refinery29

My most important legacy yet

Over the years, my mom and I have collected ladybug nostalgia, and I even named my daughter Lainey (Bug) after our tradition. In this book, you’ll find tiny ladybug illustrations as a nod to our special bond. There’s something to be said to be able to sit down on a couch with my mom – and together read a book that I wrote with her!

I also hope one day Lainey will appreciate the power and positive impact of the written word and appreciate what I have shared throughout the years.

Continue the journey with us

We hope that your journey with Missy and her friends continues beyond our children’s book! On my website, you can sign up for my newsletter and snag free coloring pages. You can also download our discussion guide on this page. The pages and guide will both be accessible on our formal launch date of September 12.

Finally, feel free to order our book here, and let us know your thoughts! Amazon reviews are always appreciated and so is spreading the word about Missy: A Dog’s Tale. 

From our family to yours: Happy reading!

- Lisa Cleary