Grandmother hopes 1st book slows bullying - East Valley Tribune: Ahwatukee Foothills

Grandmother hopes 1st book slows bullying

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Posted: Wednesday, February 29, 2012 12:30 pm | Updated: 9:25 am, Mon May 7, 2012.

Catherine Follestad has long been a storyteller for her grandchildren.

And now she can tell them a story from her first published book.

The Sun City Grand resident said she believes her grandchildren and other youngsters can learn life lessons about equality and forging new friendships from “The Itty Bitty Kitty.”

Follestad said it took several years to muster the courage to write a book.

But with the rash of bullying incidents making local and national news, Follestad said the release of “The Itty Bitty Kitty” makes sense. She said she hopes the messages conveyed in her book will strike a nerve with children to treat others with respect.

Follestad said her children’s book follows the journey of a cat that yearns to make friends with other cats who think she’s too small. While the other cats reject her initially, they eventually come around to accept her after realizing she embodies their personalities.

“The story teaches morals and social values through endearing characters and situations,” she said. “Kids love it, teachers love it and even cat lovers enjoy it.”

“The Itty Bitty Kitty” is Follestad’s first published book. She has three others in the works.

She said she believes its rhyming scheme, colorful illustrations and depiction of animals as the main characters can encourage children of all ages to make quality decisions, while also instilling the importance of reading.

Follestad, who has an artist’s background, didn’t illustrate “The Itty Bitty Kitty,” but the artwork is based on a self-drawn image of a cat that appears at the beginning of the 24-page book.

“I’ve always been good with words and have told stories for years to my grandchildren,” she said. “Writing has always come easy to me, and so I decided now was as good a time as any (to pursue writing the book).”

Follestad will host a book-signing event 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday at Starbucks, 18885 N. Reems Road, Surprise.

“The Itty Bitty Kitty” is available for sale at www.amazon.com and www.tatepublishing.com.

Zach Colick can be reached at 623-876-2522 or zcolick@yourwestvalley.com.

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