I remember as a child being afraid of dogs. My brother got an Old English Sheepdog who always seemed to be "licking his chops", ready to take a chomp out of anything. But since neither one of us intended to leave the house, I was stuck seeing him every day. And little by little we became friends and I considered him to be part of our family.

That love of dogs has remained with me throughout life. I still think of, Linus, my first Golden Retriever as "my first born". And many years ago as a parent volunteer for my son's charter school, I introduced a reading program with animals. PAWS, (partnering animals with students), was created for reluctant readers or those having trouble reading. However it became more than that. Kids who were feeling down or anxious benefited from spending time with the animals. One of my fondest memories was when a mom came to me after the first session of PAWS. She said her daughter refused to read with her or anyone in their family and was very surprised when her daughter told her she wanted to read with her so she could practice for the next time the animals came to school and would be able to "do well" for the dog she was paired with. We mainly had dogs come to read with the kids, but a few times there was a cat and once even a pig!

I believe reading is incredibly important. Teaching children (and adults!) to read opens up untold worlds of imagination and learning. It allows people to experience perspectives and narratives different from their own. And teaches people the extraordinary power of words. Words can transform lives, change the direction of history, and reshape destinies. Words have power... I am honored to have the opportunity to share my stories with the world. I live in the San Francisco Bay Area and am always on the lookout for my next story idea. Thanks for stopping by my little corner of the internet!