I am so excited to announce my newest book, Herkimer & the Bully!
Now, here’s the special thing about this book. Out of all the books I’ve published, this is the first one where I only contributed, & wasn’t actually the one to come up with the content!
When I was growing up, my grandfather on my mom’s side would always tell me these stories when he’d come over. The stories were about a brave, kind, heroic mouse named Herkimer. Herkimer was just a regular mouse, but yet because he was so devoted to being kind & so pure of heart, he ended up doing a lot of really good things in his community. I remember several of the stories he told me about Herkimer.
Fast-forward to a year or so ago. I found this brown construction-paper-covered handmade, hand-sewn bound book in my garage. When I opened it, I saw it was a Herkimer story, written down. The book also had some sketches my grandma had done to go along with the story.
The archivist inside me got excited. As I looked through the book, it became apparent to me that this was something people should see. This was the kind of book kids nowadays should read. Something about how kindness made an ordinary mouse a hero in his community.
I got involved with a variety of other projects, & although I frequently thought about the Herkimer story, I never did anything with it. Finally, this summer I decided it was time to make it happen. My grandma’s 91st birthday was at the end of August, & I had a great idea for a gift for her.
I was going to surprise her by taking the book her & my grandfather had worked on together, compiling it into a book, & publishing that book.
I began working on it as soon as I could. After deciding how I wanted the illustrations to look, I decided to preserve the style & art she’d done. I re-did the illustrations from her sketches by tracing over them. In the original, they’d been outlined in Crayola-looking thin-point markers, so that’s what I did. I added a few additional illustrations that I thought the book would benefit from, copying the style & feel of my grandma’s illustrations in my own.
Then, I transcribed the story, scanned the illustrations, & compiled the book. I even copied the essence of my grandma’s cover with the art on it, & purposely designed it to look kind of vintage. I was vaguely inspired by the look of the old Word Bird series of covers.
The book was done. I hit publish, & when it was available, bought a copy.
My family & I went to visit my grandma on the weekend before her birthday. When it was time for presents, my sister gave her a beautiful hand-made card, & my mom presented her with the purple (my grandma’s favorite color) macrame hanging plant holder my mom had made.
My grandma was thrilled when I gave her the Herkimer book, compiled & published & brought into the present. She was so excited & happy & grateful. She couldn’t believe I’d actually made it into a book & published it, & she got her name on the front. I felt really good about giving her that gift. I know it meant a lot to her, especially for her to be credited for Art Design when her whole life has always revolved around art.
Herkimer & the Bully is the first book in the Herkimer series! I plan on writing more books in the series based on the concept & stories my grandfather told me & the art my grandmother did for the original.
It is so exciting to me to have published something like this, & to contribute to & bring to life/light someone else’s book. Also exciting is the fact that this is the first time at my company Freedom Meadow Media that we’ve published something written by someone other than myself.
Here’s to many more!
by Roger Miller, Art Concept by Dr. Patricia Miller, Illustrated by Ashlee Craft
Herkimer lives in Mouseville. He is a well-mannered, friendly little mouse. He helps his parents out around the house and also does what he can to help the other mice in Mouseville. One day on the way to school, he sees a bully being mean to one of his friends, & he comes up with a plan to teach the bully to be nicer.
Release Date // August 20, 2017
Paperback 28 Pages
Genre // Children’s Fiction
Themes // Mice, Virtues