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Connecting Kids and Animals



 The Author

About the Author, Jamie King
by Charlee Lovejoy

     Jamie loved animals so much she wanted to own all kinds of little creatures and if she couldn’t own them, she would write about them.  She wrote MaryBelle The Manatee on a December day in 1994. MaryBelle’s story has touched childrens’ hearts. After reading about this kind and gentle creature, I wanted to get MaryBelle’s story into the hands of every child in America, so we could stop hurting the thirty percent of manatees who are injured by motorboats each year.

The Author - Jamie Lovejoy

     A year later we entered MaryBelle The Manatee in a high school creative writing contest. Two months later, a teacher called from the school to explain that they hadn't received  enough good writing material to even have a contest and that Jamie’s story was far too good for even their contest. Jamie’s story needed to go much further. I knew the teacher was hinting at getting the story published. The whole idea was completely out of my expertise.
     I showed MaryBelle, The Manatee to a friend.  He said the story was very good, but it would be better to publish a series of five books instead of just one. I asked Jamie if she could write four more books. She said, "I’m Jamie King,  not Steven King, Mom. It’s too hard to write a children’s book."
      Also, Jamie had decided she and her boyfriend were going to make millions with Amway. All I could think was no books, no  college,  no future.   Later that night,  I thought about Jamie’s talent and how it was being wasted.  I encouraged her to write children’s stories. Her talent needed to flow freely.
     Later, Jamie came to borrow money for some college courses. My friend had shown me a newspaper clipping about the Veterinarian Technician School in nearby Aurora. I showed the article to Jamie and the next day she went to check out the school.
     In the meantime, Jamie and her boyfriend had a falling out and Jamie wanted to move back home. I told her to pack up her things. Her old room would be ready. Jamie arrived with her belongings, two cats and all her bills.
     Jamie loved learning about animals and working with them at school. After six months Jamie came to me and wanted to know how she was going to pay off her school loan. I suggested to her, "Why don’t you write me four more stories?" She did. All the stories were so different and wonderful, that I decided to publish them myself.
     It took me several months to find the illustrator to give just the right look to the stories. David Lemmon loved drawing and painting animals. The illustrations took one year from start to finish. But we wanted to do even more to motivate children to help animals and, at the same time, encourage them to read. We decided that the Stories needed Babies.
     We talked to over 30 companies that made plush toys.  By January, I picked one of the oldest and finest bean plush toy manufacturers to help us produce our companions. The bean plush toys would come alive through Jamie’s stories.
     Now it seems like ages ago when I first read the MaryBelle story, and now I am proud to say I saw writing talent in a young girl, and I encouraged her with all my heart to show it to the world.



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