Bo Obama, Pup Of The United States, shares the dos and don’ts of America’s First Pup as he prepares to pass the bone to his canine successor. The entire nation is wondering, Who will be the next POTUS? May the best candidate win!
“The Pup Of The United States must be born in the U.S.A. and be patriotic. You should make a practice of stopping when you see the American flag. Show your respect with an exaggerated tail wag or a paw over your heart. Additionally, it would be wise to learn the tune of “The Star Spangled Banner” and bark along accordingly!”
“The White House will welcome many world leaders. Some of these guests will be presidents, prime ministers, kings, queens, princes, or princesses. You MUST be able to greet these special guests with respect. Excessive barking, licking, jumping, and parading around like a puppy are strictly prohibited! You do NOT want to get taken out back by a Secret Service agent.”
Heather Patterson is a children’s author and kindergarten teacher from Texas. “Passing the Bone: America’s Next POTUS” is her first children’s book. She hopes the book will help young readers relate to current events in a meaningful, engaging way. To learn more and to download educational resources that Patterson created, visit HeatherNPatterson.com.
Tell us about your book. How did it get started?
I wanted to write a book during the election season specifically for children. I knew if I got started in 2014, the book would come out during the election season. Any presidential election is historic and an educational opportunity! While the nation is consumed with campaign trails, election coverage, and political predictions, Passing the Bone includes children by engaging them at their level and appealing to their interests.
How do you create your characters?
Passing the Bone: America’s Next POTUS is told from the perspective of the First Dog, Bo Obama. I didn’t create Bo’s character, but was able to take an imaginative approach to his personality and humor.
Where do you write? Is there something you need in order to write (music, drinks)?
I’m not like most creative who can work listening to music in a coffee shop. Of course having a coffee nearby helps, but my workspace has to be quiet, clean, and distraction free. I can’t listen to music while I write and my house has to be spotless. Noise and an unorganized space make me feel disordered, which keeps me from being able to concentrate and think creatively.
How do you get your ideas for writing?
I want to write about what I am passionate about, which are politics, patriotism, and children. I think about how I can engage them with current events and what I want children to take away from the election season.
What do you like to read?
Non-fiction! I am passionate about history and politics, so I love to read about current events, past historical events and the military. I also enjoy reading autobiographies from these categories.
Anything else you’d like to share?
Readers of all ages can learn from Passing the Bone: America’s Next POTUS! Excerpts in Passing the Bone were taken from true events. For example, Bo appeared as a guest on two popular talk shows, Jimmy Fallon and Ellen DeGeneres. Upon visiting the White House, British Prime Minister David Cameron graciously gifted Bo with a bone wrapped in red, white, and blue ribbon. Facts are hidden in the illustrations as well! You’ll find all five of America’s living presidents, along with former first dogs, inside the pages. You can find all historical references and mini-lessons at my website, www.heathernpatterson.com
What makes “Passing the Bone: America’s Next POTUS” unique?
“Passing the Bone: America’s Next POTUS” is written for children about the office and responsibility of the president and presidential pup, from the first dog’s perspective. In a political year, children have a book that engages them in current events, captures them with humor, and teaches patriotic facts while they get an inside look at the White House pup.
Why did you want to write a book during the election season?
I wanted to write a book during the election season specifically for children. Any presidential election is historic and an educational opportunity! While the nation is consumed with campaign trails, election coverage, and political predictions, “Passing the Bone” includes children by engaging them at their level and appealing to their interests.
Is “Passing the Bone: America’s Next POTUS” only for children?
Readers of all ages can learn new facts from the book! A few excerpts in “Passing the Bone” were taken from true events. For example, Bo appeared as a guest on two popular talk shows, Jimmy Fallon and Ellen DeGeneres. Upon visiting the White House, British Prime Minister David Cameron graciously gifted Bo with a bone wrapped in red, white, and blue ribbon. Facts are hidden in the illustrations as well! You’ll find all five of America’s living presidents, along with former first dogs, inside the pages.
How can children get excited about the Presidential election?
The key to exciting children about a presidential election is teaching them they have an important role in our nation! Children are young, but they are capable of being good citizens. Their character, passions, interests, and the way they treat others matter. American children also 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, they can get excited about the new White House pup that will be moving into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
When did you start writing this book? When did you start writing in general?
I first began writing in 2013, about former presidents George W. Bush and his father, George H. W. Bush. I started writing “Passing the Bone: America’s Next POTUS” in September 2014. I actually had writers block from my Bush manuscript (now completed) and needed a break. I decided to clear my mind by writing something light and humorous. I opened a separate blank document and the words started to flow…
What are your future writing plans?
I am currently seeking a literary agent for my Bush manuscript. Not only is a father and son presidency unique, but George H. W. Bush is a true American hero whose story hasn’t been widely shared with children. At the time of his military service, he was the youngest pilot in history to fly in the Navy! He served in World War II, survived a plane crash, was rescued at sea, became CIA director, and eventually, president of the United States. I believe children should learn and read of President H. W. Bush’s heroism and service to our country.
How has being a kindergarten teacher helped you write a children’s book?
As a kindergarten teacher, I read multiple picture books to my class every day. Having that background experience has given me an inside perspective to what children find engaging, funny, interesting, or flat. Envisioning my students sitting on our class reading carpet helped mold my story as I wrote and made revisions.
Is Bo’s character in the book influenced by a dog you know?
Well, of course! My twin sister’s goldendoodle, Beau, is very humorous and has quite the personality. Beau was kicked out of obedience school as a puppy, swallowed a sock which put him in the animal ER, would give up on his exercise walks and have to be carried home, and even kept a secret stash of M&Ms, matches, nails, and socks under the couch. (How he got all those items remains a mystery!) Beau is extremely personable, playful, and loving. I think readers will enjoy his personality shown through the book.