Debut Children’s Author Shares Story of Presidential Dog

Debut Children’s Author Shares Story of Presidential Dog

by Sarah Bays

Bo Obama is a Portuguese water dog, with curly, fluffy, black hair and a happy face. When he leaves the White House with President Barack Obama and his family early next year, he just might hide a parting gift for his canine successor.

Heather Patterson, a Kindergarten teacher at Liberty Christian School in Argyle, has taken up Bo’s story, showcasing former presidential pups in her first published book, Passing the Bone: America’s Next POTUS.

“I wanted to write a book during the election season that is specifically for children,” Patterson said. “Our nation is consumed with campaign trails, election coverage and the upcoming change of office. I want to draw children in and include them in the process by engaging them at their level and appealing to their interests. Any presidential election is exciting and historic!”

Throughout her illustrated children’s book, Patterson uses Bo to introduce kids to the office and responsibilities of the president and the First Dog. Bo shares the do’s and don’ts of America’s First Pup as he prepares to pass the bone on to the next canine entering the White House.

For Patterson, penning a light-hearted book was just what she needed to relax while working on another project.

“I first began writing in 2013, about former presidents George W. Bush and his father, George H. W. Bush,” she said. “I started writing Passing the Bone: America’s Next POTUS in September 2014. I actually had writer’s block from by Bush manuscript. I decided to take a break and write something light and humorous. I opened a separate blank document and the words just
started to flow.”

Patterson’s work as a teacher gives her a first-hand understanding of what children need and how they can connect with world events on a smaller stage.

“I read multiple picture books every day to my class, which give me an inside perspective to what children find engaging, funny, interesting or flat. I was blessed to use these background experiences to help mold my story as I wrote and revised.”

Giving kids a way to be a part of what’s happening in our nation is not a simple task. Patterson said it all comes down to showing them that they matter.

“The key to exciting children about a presidential election is teaching them they have an important role in our nation,” she said.

“Their passions matter. The way they treat others matters. Their character matters. Their interests matter. Children are young, but they are capable of being good citizens.”

“They have the privilege of being born in a free country, where one day they can vote and take part in electing a president. And of course, children can get excited about the new presidential pup that will be moving into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue!”

In Passing the Bone, Bo takes children through the White House, showing them portraits of former pups like Barney and Miss Beazley, President George W. Bush’s dogs. He also introduces kids to the previous 4 presidents.

“The reception has been very positive,” Patterson said. “I’m excited and very grateful for the opportunity to share Passing the Bone with children of multiple communities! Surprisingly, many adults have come to me with how much they learned from the book. To me, that’s what it is all about — providing something for the community that children and parents can enjoy and learn from together.”

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