Children’s Book by Leslie Kelley Earns Publishing Company’s Award of Literary Excellence

Dog Ear Publishing has named its latest literary award winner, “Are You My Dad?” by Leslie Kelley, illustrated by Kirk Werner.

Kirkland, WA, November 20, 2017 --( Leslie Kelley was thrilled when she learned her children’s book had won a Dog Ear Publishing Award of Literary Excellence and lost no time in letting her loved ones know about the honor.

“I squealed like a child!” she exclaimed. “I may have jumped up and down as well. And then I texted my husband and children to tell them the great news. After that I called my mom.”

She said writing has been a passion of hers for a long time. “Writing is a part of who I am, and I’ve been writing stories since I was quite small. It’s very special to see my dream finally come true.”

Books that earn the Award of Literary Excellence are determined by Dog Ear Publishing’s editorial team. The managing editor, editorial services manager and the publisher review its recommendations. Winning books include the award logo on their covers.

“Are You My Dad?” tells the story about an emperor penguin chick who hatches after her egg rolls down a huge hill and away from her father. The chick sets off on a quest to find him, encountering Antarctic wildlife in her travels as well as a human who cannot resist taking her photo.

The author wrote the book as an homage to “Are You My Mother” by P.D. Eastman, a book she loved as a child. “I wanted to retell that story but with a father and a daughter. The only animal dad that I knew of to be super dedicated was the emperor penguin,” she said.

Kelley said the Dog Ear editor called her book delightful, beautifully written and illustrated. “She congratulated me on creating truly great content. I was thrilled. As a writer, those compliments mean the world.”

She said others have also spoken highly about it. “I have heard truly lovely feedback. People love this little headstrong penguin chick and how she learns about her dad from the animals she meets on her quest.”

Although she’s proud of everything in the book, her favorite part is its repetition. “I love repetition in children’s literature,” she said. “I worked very hard to make that perfect, and I’m very proud of that.”

Kelley also praised illustrator Kirk Werner’s drawings. “Kirk did an amazing job illustrating. I can draw quite well, so people asked me why I didn’t illustrate my own book,” she said. “But drawing pictures is very different than telling a story with pictures. Kirk told the story with perfect silliness and seriousness.”

This won’t be Kelley’s only children’s book. “I definitely plan to write other children’s picture books,” she said. “I have one that is ready to be submitted actually. Oddly enough, it is also about birds! It has repetition as well. This one is based on a true story, though, and is about whooping cranes, not penguins.”

Kelley said she worked with “some amazing women” at Dog Ear who were “incredibly helpful and understanding” whenever she had a concern.

One challenge in writing the book was its length. “My challenge is always word count,” she said. “This book took me years to write because it was far too long in the beginning. And the ‘clicker’ [what the chick calls a photographer] took me a while to figure out.”

Some readings and signings of the book will take place locally before the holidays, and Kelley also plans some local classroom readings to promote it.

Kelley is a graphic designer and color consultant. “Are You My Dad?” is her first published children’s book, although she’s written other manuscripts. Werner, a published children’s author himself, is an illustrator and graphic designer.

For additional information, please visit

Are You My Dad?
Leslie Kelley
Dog Ear Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-4575-5634-0 24 pages $10.95 US

Available at Ingram,, Barnes & Noble and fine bookstores everywhere.

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