Manuscript to Published Book: The Journey of An Aunt’s Animal Alphabet

An Aunt's Animal Alphabet book

We are so excited to have published An Aunt’s Animal Alphabet on October 4, 2023! It has been our first experience self-publishing a kid’s book, turning it from a manuscript to a professionally designed kid’s book! The story of how it came into being goes back a long way.

It started when my wife before we were married, wrote this children’s book as a gift to her nieces for Christmas in 2014. She conceived of the idea, drew all the illustrations of animals and letters, and wrote nursery rhymes to go with each one in the span of about a month. She is a fun type of person! And she exhibits that same kind of fun in that manuscript of so many years ago. When she showed me it, I loved it! Of course, none of us knew anything about publishing a book, although I have published conference and journal papers before. So, we embarked on this journey to publish a book! We both have poured so much of ourselves into creating it that it has become “our” book.

I do not intend to tell the whole self-publishing story in this one blog post (maybe another time), but I do want to talk about where it came from and show why we are so excited about it. It started from a pretty minimalistic manuscript showing the animal drawings, creatively drawn letters resembling each animal, and nursery rhymes on each page. All the drawings were done with colored pencils, with all the mistakes and erase marks that go with it. There were no backgrounds, and some animals had elements that ended at the page edge. So, this turned into a challenge regarding how to edit the book.

Without going into too much detail, we cleaned up all the artwork, created all new full backgrounds that span the pages to create whole scenes with the animals, and created an arrangement for all the poems, words, and letters of the alphabet. The end result was a fully edited and professional-looking book. It is a lot easier to show what we mean than just to describe it. So, here are some of our favorite illustrations from An Aunt’s Animal Alphabet:

An Aunt's Animal Alphabet - Giraffe preview
An Aunt's Animal Alphabet - Mouse preview
An Aunt's Animal Alphabet - Owl preview
An Aunt's Animal Alphabet - Velociraptor preview
An Aunt's Animal Alphabet - Yak preview

It’s been wonderful hearing people’s reactions to the book. My friend’s daughter absolutely loved the giraffe and had a “gasp” reaction when she saw it. The three-year-old kid of another friend loves the book and asks his mom to read the “Yak” book.

We recently had an event where Hailey read An Aunt’s Animal Alphabet to kindergarten and first graders in a school library. The kids were interested and engaged and asked lots of questions! As she began reading the book to them, she would show the kids the picture of the animal and start reading the poem. It turned into an engaging and fun guessing game for the kids to say which animal it was. We made special cookies for them to take home that day!

An Aunt's Animal Alphabet - cookies!

Once again, we are very excited about An Aunt’s Animal Alphabet and think it is a fun, creative, and educational book for kids to learn their ABCs! We believe it is pretty unique in its creativity, particularly in how the first letter of the animal resembles the animal itself. In the book, we are encouraging reader engagement. So, if your child feels inspired to make an alphabet book of their own, we would love to see the pictures! Use the QR code in the book to submit pictures, or click here, and we will post them in the gallery on our website!

We hope An Aunt’s Animal Alphabet will bring joy to many kids!

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