Monday, November 6, 2017

Expounding Inspiration

There's quite a story behind the creation of a newly published children's book series on being a veterinarian and I recently talked with the author, Dr. Rebekah Hartfield, to get the scoop. Rebekah's ambition and desire to inspire the younger generation to go forth and conquer (and while they're at it, maybe try their hands at rural veterinary practice) is brimming with sage positivity and it's my pleasure to share it with you.

Rebekah's "Doctor Hartfield Veterinary Book Series" is a series of six books pitched for fourth graders and under. "Fourth graders understand it," Rebekah says. "And for pre-K and kindergartners, they just enjoy the story. I've read to pre-K through fourth grade and they all seem to enjoy the book." The first book in the series, Rosie the Pig, was published in August of this year. The book tells the story of how a young girl named Abby and Dr. Hartfield diagnose and treat a pig named Rosie with respiratory disease. It's based on a true story. But, we're getting ahead of things.

"I want to encourage kids to want to learn about all the different species and hopefully inspire them to want to practice in those areas."

Rosie the Pig started when Rebekah was in her fourth year of vet school. "At the time, my younger sister was in graphic design school and she had to do a senior project," says Rebekah. "We had talked about how I wanted to do something more with my platform when I graduated as a veterinarian." Coming from a creative family, Rebekah also paints and is a photographer and was looking for ways to weave creativity into her new profession.
Rebekah Hartfield, DVM
"It just so happened that a couple of things occurred at the same time," Rebekah continues. "A friend had called me up and needed a good book recommendation for her daughter who was 10 and wanted to go to vet school." Rebekah did some research and came up nearly empty handed. "Most of the books were way over a ten-year-old's head," she says. "They were too wordy and not very creative." That got her thinking. Rebekah identified a need in the market for books on being a veterinarian that were pitched for a younger audience. So she brought the idea to her sister. "That's kind of how it started," she says.

But the origin story isn't over yet. That Thanksgiving, Rebekah's niece visited and one of Rebekah's pigs -- named Rosie (you guessed it) -- was sick. "We went to the barn and I showed my niece how to do an exam and what went into diagnosing and treated Rosie. Rosie got better and I called my sister and said: I've got my story."

Pistol the Horse is the second book in the series, with a release date planned for May 2018. Each book in the series will be about an actual case in a different species. Rebekah says the dog story might be about heartworm, since she encounters that disease frequently in her Oklahoma practice. The other books will be about cases in a cat, a cow, and a goat.

One of the unique aspects of Rebekah's book is that in addition to the story, there are interactive puzzles which makes the book visually stimulating on many levels. Rebekah's sister was the illustrator. With pronunciation guides, Rosie the Pig teaches kids about anti-inflammatories and antibiotics, rounding out the spectrum of an entertaining yet highly informative guide to vet med aimed at young kids.

One of the other goals Rebekah hopes to accomplish from her book series is to encourage kids to go into rural veterinary practice. "We just don't have a lot of rural veterinarians," she says. "In Oklahoma there's a pretty big shortage of vets serving these areas. I want to encourage kids to want to learn about all the different species and hopefully inspire them to want to practice in those areas."

Ambitious and busy, Rebekah has many more irons in the fire. She says she has a whole list of goals. "I want to have this children's book series but I really want to create a series of books for each age group leading up to college," she says. "I have a current page on my website about how to prep to be a vet but I'm also working on another page about college, talking about the GRE and the entrance essay." Rebekah mentions when she decided to apply for vet school, she was unaware of all the different requirements. "I had to scramble around and get my credits -- I didn't even know you had to take the GRE." 

"Don't let a "no" stop you from achieving your goals."

"Another part of my platform is about inspiring kids. I want let them know: don't let a "no" stop you from achieving your goals." Rebekah says she encountered a lot of no's in her life as she attempted to get into vet school, and once she got in, it wasn't easy, either. "But I made it through," she emphasizes. "And through all of that, it made me a better veterinarian and it gives me a story to tell other people who are maybe going through the same thing and struggling themselves."

Rebekah's Rosie the Pig is available on her website, which is where you'll also find her blog and other resources.

And until next month, dear reads: happy reading, happy writing, and happy vetting.

No comments:

Post a Comment