On one hand I hate to be surprised. On the other hand I relish in the unexpected. To clarify, I don’t like to be frightened or have anyone throw me a surprise party. However, when I go somewhere for a certain reason I can’t wait to see what unexpected thing is going to happen. It’s like the twist that no one expects.

Being the author of the children’s book, Takota’s Dream, brings many unexpected occurrences. Luckily, I have my sister Lisa, the gifted illustrator of our book, along with me to share in the hilarity of it all.

For example, while sitting at an “Author’s Day” at The Frugal Frigid Children’s Bookstore in Redlands, CA one Saturday with our stuffed animal characters and our books on display the most absurd thing happened. A woman picked up our little mouse character and proceeded to take little mousey and grab him by the nap of the neck, turn him over and simulate shoving a syringe into his chest while explaining in a foreign language to her husband how she kills mice in the lab in which she works. I know – absurd!

No one tells you you’re going to have to see that if you write a children’s book. Yes, they tell you the odds are pretty good that you won’t make a whole lot of money. The example above shows me that anything can happen. Good, bad, weird, sad – anything.

We have been on quite a journey with our little book: road blocks, layoffs, other projects, cancer. You name it and we’ve experienced it. Our goal has always been to extend the reach of Takota’s message of friendship and acceptance, which inspired our catchphrase, “Spread the Woof.”

So this week another unexpected thing happened. Lisa and I did a book reading at Sierra Lakes Elementary School in Fontana, CA. We did one a year ago at this same school and we were returning for a command performance.

We read to four, 3rd grade classes, which is such a perfect age for our book. The questions these kids ask are thoughtful, intelligent and some are gut-splitting funny, which we have learned is expected. Our debriefing after each event is one of my favorite things to do. The top three hilarious questions were:

  1. How old are you?
  2. Are you rich?
  3. What did you do with Takota after he died?

When we arrived at the school we were escorted to our first class by the Librarian who asked the students, “How many of you have read, Takota’s Dream? We weren’t expecting it but the majority of students threw their hands into the air. To our surprise and elation this happened in all of the classes. We had donated a book to the library last year and at least 100 children checked out our book, took it home and read it.

It really touched me that the book was not only getting checked out but the kids loved it and one of them said, “It’s my favorite book,” as she wiggled in her chair.

Say what you want about viral videos and the like; but legions of 3rd graders who cheer for you when you enter their room and wave uncontrollably on the playground when they see you later in the day is real-life, in-the-flesh fantastic!

Our unexpected gift that day came in the form of knowing the “Woof” is spreading and the hearts of those children are filled with some of the love and lessons Takota and Bill the Kitty shared with me during Takota’s life.

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