Writing about Rosie; Teachable moment evolves into storybook

By Racey Burden | Published Wednesday, September 13, 2017

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A few years ago, Dr. Rebekah Hartfield’s sister, Sara Haug, called her looking for suggestions on what to do for her final project in her graphic design class. The sisters eventually came up with an idea for a book – “Rosie the Pig.”

Rebekah Hartfield

The idea for the book’s plot came from a time Hartfield’s niece Abby visited her ranch in Oklahoma. Hartfield’s pig Rosie was sick, and Abby was very interested in helping her.

“I talked her through how to examine her, how to treat her,” Hartfield said.

“Rosie the Pig” was published independently by Hartfield this year. Hartfield wrote the story, and Haug did all the illustrations.

“Our relationship with the book has always been ‘I’m your client, but I’m also your sister,'” Hartfield said. “She did the illustrations, she helped me publish, she designed my website. She’s kind of done everything for me.”

The book walks the reader through the process Hartfield used to diagnose Rosie for Abby, using illustrations and definitions to show the kids what bigger words like “antibiotic” and “stethoscope” mean. Hartfield hopes the book will teach younger children what it means to be a vet.

“Several of my friends had asked me, ‘What’s a good veternarian book for my kids to start reading?'” Hartfield said. “I couldn’t find any that were engaging and colorful.”

So she made her own, complete with little quizzes to ensure the readers learn something from the book. Hartfield plans to continue the series beyond “Rosie the Pig,” with five more books planned. The next one, “Pistol the Horse,” comes out in May.

“All of the stories and all of the animals are on my farm,” Hartfield said. “All are true stories.”

Hartfield and Haug were raised in Bridgeport, so Wise County is one of the stops on Hartfield’s book tour. She’ll be at NRS on Sunday, Sept. 17, for readings from 2 to 4 p.m. She’s bringing Rosie the pig.

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