Amy and I have wanted to do a children’s book for 20 years. She’s an elementary educator; I’m an editorial cartoonist. Somewhere in the middle we knew we could come up with a book that kids would love. We talked about doing one about her dog Sadie (who became my dog with marriage) and our fat cat Sam. (If you look in Banjo’s Dream, they make cameos.) But we didn’t have the money to publish one. Our first Border Terrier Molly came along (she’s also in the new book). Then about 11 years ago, a second Border Terrier named Banjo entered our lives.
Banjo was a rescue dog who rescued us. He moved in and quickly burrowed into our hearts. We knew we wanted to put him in a book (Border Terriers are cute, after all). But we weren’t quite sure what we would write. Six years ago, it came into focus.
You see, Banjo was a big lug with a big heart. But he had a bad pancreas and developed diabetes. Over the next few years, he showed the most amazing will to live of any person or animal I’ve ever met.
To say he was inspirational is a big understatement. He was one dog who showed me that you can do anything you put your mind to.
Six years ago, we knew what we wanted to do — an A-Z book showing Banjo doing whatever he could dream. But I still didn’t have the money.
Then Banjo died. That and a couple of other changes in my life inspired me to write and publish Fried Chicken & Wine, a book of short stories. I did it first because it was cheaper to print (I am like Dave Ramsey — I believe in paying cash for my business ventures).
It was a surprising success.
And because of that success, I finally had enough money to print a four-color children’s book.
Honestly, Banjo’s Dream represented a big financial risk for us. But Amy and I wanted to have a book that could teach our children they could do whatever they dreamed. I’m proud to say it has sold well and sales continue to grow. Parents love it. Kids love it even more. Even dog loving adults are buying it — and loving it, too.
Because it’s not a book about a dog who died. It’s about a dog whose spirit will live forever. And in these tough times, we all need a little Banjo in our lives.
Keep dreaming Banjo. And thank you for allowing us to come along for the journey.