Posted by: Kathy Temean | September 17, 2020

Book Giveaway: TAILS FROM THE ANIMAL SHELTER by Stephanie Shaw

Stephanie Shaw has a new picture book, TAILS FROM THE ANIMAL SHELTER, Illustrated by Liza Woodruff and published by Sleeping Bear Press in August. Sleeping Bear Press has agreed to share a copy with one lucky winner. All you have to do to get in the running is to leave a comment. Reblog, tweet, talk about it on Facebook with a link, or if you follow my blog and have it delivered everyday, and you will get additional chances to win. Just let me know the other things you do to share the good news, so I can put in the right amount of tickets in my basket for you.

Sharing on Facebook, Twitter, reblogging really helps spread the word for a new book. Thanks for helping Stephanie and Liza!


Did you know that more than six million pets arrive annually at community animal shelters in the United States? Of that number over three million are dogs. But of course it’s not just dogs and puppies that need homes. Shelters take in cats, kittens, birds, reptiles, and even domestic farm animals. And there are many reasons why these animals need to go to shelters. Some of the animals are strays and some are lost; some are rescued from natural disasters or from mistreatment. Some have been given up because their owners could no longer care for them. Using poetic back stories and informative text, Tails From the Animal Shelter shines a spotlight on the good work of community animal shelters. Ten different fictional animals, including a handicapped dog, a magician’s former rabbit, and a pot-bellied pig, represent the millions of pets brought to shelters every day. Whether they’re known as Humane Societies, rescue services, or other names, these organizations and their caring work remind us all of how a loving home can change the life of a vulnerable animal.

The book is made up of page after page of various (fictional) animals seeking adoption. There’s Lucky the three-legged, one-eyed dog; Pooter the skunk, Hamlet a pot-bellied pig and many more. It’s also packed with non-fiction information about various rescue organizations. There are guidelines to consider before adopting and ways to support shelters if adopting is not possible.


About four years ago, my husband and I decided it was time to downsize and try living in another state (away from my beloved native Oregon). I could write anywhere, right? But it turned out I could not. And days and weeks and then months began to pass without any writing.

One healthy writing habit I managed to hold onto was a daily walk. I would trudge up a long hill and back down. Sometimes I took unfamiliar routes on my walk. I came to dead ends. I had to carefully retrace steps to get back home.

Also, as I walked, I berated myself for not coming up with a new story. Why was writing suddenly so hard? It felt like the harder I tried to write, the less creativity I had.

Then one day it occurred to me to go back to what I did in the very beginning of my years in writing:  small poems. I didn’t have to write long paragraphs. Just little snippets. Surely, I could do that. And I did. I gave myself the task of writing a tiny poem each day. Each turned out to be about animals. And each one was searching for a home.

This led me to research how Humane Societies began. I tucked that information in with the poem collection and sent it to my editor at Sleeping Bear Press where I had four other picture books in publication.

It was my good fortune that Sleeping Bear loved it but they saw it as the basis of a non-fiction story and wanted the text expanded considerably. This was new territory for me. It was time to back up again and try this new route.

I learned so much. I read and read and read. I developed relationships with animal shelter workers. I picked the brain of a newspaper columnist who writes about dogs.  More than anything I developed a huge respect for non-fiction writers. This non-fiction writing was no walk in the dog park!

When I was stuck and thought I’d never have an idea (let alone a whole book), I went back. Since that time, I’ve also completed three concept books for Read Your Story and a picture book (Sylvia’s Way, West Margin Press, 2021). I’ve asked for help. I’ve taken classes, attended workshops, connected with a great agent. Oh, and we moved back to my beloved Oregon.

My journey is a testimony to my theory that writing is not a straight path. It is a maze. The ‘birth story’ of Tails From The Animal Shelter is just that.

I’m looking at a copy as I write this. It will forever be a reminder that writing is a labyrinth; a route under construction with lots of detours.

But I love what it led to.


Stephanie Shaw completed her Bachelor of Science degree in Education at Oregon State University and her Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology at Lewis and Clark College. Her career has included being a teacher of children with severe emotional disabilities, school counseling and school administration.

Stephanie says she had the great privilege of being born and raised in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.  Although she enjoyed many years of working in the field of education, she now happily helps little forest and farm critters fall asleep, casts magic spells to vanquish vampires and dresses up cows in high heels. Okay, maybe she doesn’t do those things, but her stories do!  You can learn three (true) things about Stephanie regarding lambs, licorice and the third grade by going to her website at  Oregon SCBWI has been her chief source of encouragement and guidance along the path to publication. She is represented by Marisa Cleveland of The Seymour Agency.

Stephanie has been writing and publishing books for young children since 2013. You might recognized some of her other books:

Piece by Piece

“Once upon a time a weaver tucked a memory into her collection basket.” Drawing inspiration from the natural world around her, a weaver woman with a magical touch crafts exquisite fabrics. And from the fabric she fashions a wondrous dress, with a bodice that sparkles of starlight and lace like the foam of an ocean wave. The weaver envisions the food and clothing she will be able to buy for her children from the sale of the dress. But when she takes the dress to a local shopkeeper, the weaver is told her work is not saleable. And so she starts over again. [Sleeping Bear Press, July 2017]

Schnitzel: A Cautionary Tale for Lazy Louts

Schnitzel is an apprentice to a wizard. Reluctant to do his household chores, he accepts help from a door-to-door vacuum cleaner salesman. But, this is no ordinary dust buster. And, did mention the salesman is a vampire? What could go wrong?

The Legend Of The Beaver’s Tail

This book is perfect for the classroom and school library as it combines a ‘just so’ type story with biological facts. It fits well in both legend and animal science studies. Sleeping Bear Press, April 2015.

A Cookie for Santa

In this clever twist on ‘The Night Before Christmas’, a Gingerbread Boy is carefully decorated and placed on a plate for Santa and wonders if he is brave enough to face his holiday duty. Sleeping Bear Press, 2014

Moo la la! Cow Goes Shopping

Silly Cow demands many things, and Pete (the very patient farmer) indulges her every whim. Does she really want shoes because Horse has shoes? And what about that wool coat of Sheep’s? Now she’s heard the turkey gets some sort of dressing! Cow will learn the hard way that maybe she shouldn’t whine for things she knows nothing about. Simon & Schuster UK, 2016

Bedtime in the Meadow

A gentle bedtime lullaby. ‘Hush, baby, hush. Now close your sweet eyes.//Stars are all blinkong in sleepy, dark skies.’  Join the littlest animals in the mead as they settle down into sweet slumber.

By the Light of the Moon

It’s bedtime in the forest and Fawn wants to stay up.”Does Fox stay up late? Are squirrels still playing up high in the trees? But, as night falls, Fawn finds that his friends are already fast asleep.

Under the Sleepy Stars

On a star-sprinkled night, Owlet watches the animals settle down. “Who tucks Fawn in? Who cuddles Cub?” asks wide-awake Owlet. But as night turns to dawn, it’s Owlet who needs a goodnight hug. Tiger Tales US/Little Tiger UK, 2015

Lullaby Farm

It’s bedtime on the farm. Sleepy chicks nestle close to mother hen and piglets snore in their pen, but will mama sheepdog ever get her wriggly puppies to bed? Spot the pup in each picture beautifully illustrated by Rebecca Harry.


As with many illustrators, mine was a long and winding path to publication. Along the way, I could be found scooping ice cream, counseling at summer camp, waiting tables at a dude ranch or operating a chairlift at a ski resort. At one point I even hoped to become a veterinarian! Of all my varied experiences, though, my favorite was at a children’s book review magazine–The Horn Book– where I fell in love with children’s books. After earning my BA in Art and French and my BFA in illustration at the Art Institute of Boston, I dove into children’s books and have since illustrated twenty-three of them.

It has long been a goal of mine to write my own stories to illustrate. My first authored book, EMERSON BARKS, was published by Christy Ottaviano Books in August of 2016. Margaret Ferguson Books/Holiday House then published A QUIETER STORY in July, 2019, and will publish ONCE UPON A WINTER DAY, in October of 2020.  

My home is in Vermont, nestled between the Green Mountains and Lake Champlain. When not working in my studio, I can be found on the lake, on the side of a mountain or deep in the woods with my family and/or two dogs.

Stephanie, thank you for sharing your book and journey with us. This is such a cute book. Kids love animals, so reading about an animal shelter is surely something that will thrill them. Liza’s illustrations are the icing on the cake. All the animals are adorable. It makes me want to visit the animal shelter to see and pet all of them. Good luck with the book. It is sure to be a winner.

Talk tomorrow,



  1. Thank you for sharing your journey with your beautiful new book. I love the idea of writing a small poem each day. You’ve inspired me! I love visiting our local animal rescue and enjoy spending time with the kitties there. : ) I follow this blog and look forward to every post!


  2. Congrats, Stephanie and Liza! I have a rescue dog myself, so this sounds right up my alley. (I RTed and I’m subscribed to emails.)


  3. This sounds like a fun and wonderful book! Congratulations


  4. Yay! Congrats Stephanie and Liza! Looks like an awesome book! Can’t wait to take a closer look.


  5. I love this book, especially since I volunteer @ my local SPCA and have a houseful of rescued furries (dogs, bunnies, and a chin)! How correct you are: writing IS a maze. Congrats on your latest. Kathy, I follow your blog–thanks.


  6. Congratulations Stephanie and Liza! Can’t wait to get this book. All of our pets except for the fish have been rescue animals.

    I tweeted your giveaway and posted it on fb. Best of Luck!


  7. As “Gramma” to two rescue-dogs, this sounds like a book sure to become a go-to for lots of young readers and their grown-ups! Really enjoyed reading your writing journey and Liza, how blessed you are to live where you do (having spent my college and earliest teaching years in Burlington and Williston). Stephanie, wishing you safety in Oregon with all the fires out there!


  8. I got my dog through a rescue. He is the best. This looks like a really sweet book. Thanks for telling me about it.


  9. I remember those fur balls when we had cats years ago! Sharing 😀 😀 😀


  10. Adorable! Rescue pets are the best! Thanks for writing this book. Congrats!

    Will Tweet this post. 😉


  11. Working in an animal shelter myself, I can’t wait to read this book! I also do follow this blog, and have it delivered daily! 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


%d bloggers like this: