About the Book
This is the story of a sweet homeless dog named Jessie and her journey to find the life she longs for. Jessie’s life is filled with trials but she never gives up hope.
Through her perseverance she finds the world does have the love she searched for. Jessie’s story captivates the young reader from the very first page. The arc of her journey elicits feelings of sympathy, empathy, compassion, kindness and joy.
Her universal need and desire for love and safety is a message embraced by even the littlest of readers. Tapping into these emotions in young children is vital for their development as well as making the world a better place…for both the four-legged and two-legged. The book includes thought-provoking, impactful discussion questions and an interactive activity. This is a great book for teachers, too!
The Story Behind the Story
Little did I know at the time, but the first seed for this book was planted over 20 years ago. My kids are grown adults now, but when they were little, story time was very big in our house. One of my son’s favorites when he was itty-bitty was the classic Golden Book, Pat the Bunny. It was a “touch and feel” board book and was a staple at bedtime. Years later my son encountered a not-so-nice child on the playground. When we talked about the experience, my son had incredible words of wisdom and insight. He stated matter-of-factly that obviously that child had not been read Pat the Bunny. For if he had, he obviously would not have thrown sand at him. That is the revelation and science supports it today.
If you can link someone else’s life or their experience to your own, that allows a bridge for understanding, sympathy, empathy and compassion to rise. And yes, that bridge can be gently patting a faux bunny or even a dog named Jessie.
While still being age appropriate, My Name is Jessie is a true, heartstring pulling, story. That's intentional and dare I say…good. As parents there’s a tendency to not have your child feel any discomfort. However, the problem with that is that we “rescue” them from their greatest moment of learning—their greatest moment of emotional growth.
There’s a physiological event which takes place in the brain. A synapse fires and neurons carve a pathway. My Name is Jessie is a bridge to that event: the firing of synapses to embed sympathy, empathy, compassion, joy and love. Emotions-so named from the Latin word, “to move”-need to be labeled.
You’ve heard the saying that children are born with a clean slate and we write on it. As parents and caregivers, teachers and invested grown-ups, we are charged with either raising kids who are sympathetic, empathetic and compassionate OR…raising kids who are consumers who take and take without any emotional intelligence to be aware of others.
And we all know that they grow up and become adults, one way or the other.
So as you read the story together, I urge you not to “rescue” them from experiencing these emotions. If you do need a tissue, don’t worry; the same tissue can be used for the joyful, happily-ever-after ending as well! In other words, let those synapses fire, let the nervous system activate. Take time to curl up in a cozy blanket and talk about the questions in the back of the book. Let your child develop and you revel in having a front row seat.
All the Colors, All the Feels
A lot of people have talent; far fewer have a gift. My illustrator, Karen Kalbacher, is remarkably gifted.
Karen's illustrations are exemplary and equally matched with her patience and communication skills. I hit the jackpot finding her. If you have a need for one amazing image, or an entire book, she's the best!
You can be an artist, too!
Jessie has her very own coloring page! Now your little one can be an artist just like Karen, the illustrator!
Click below to download the printable PDF and be creative! Post your masterpiece to Instagram and tag @mynameisjessie_book