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About the Author and Illustrator

Judy Lehman and Dana Lehman

My name is Dana Lehman and I am the author of the Walnut Grove series of children’s books. All three books help encourage character development. I graduated with an Associates degree from Macomb Community College. I always enjoyed creative writing, and one of my dreams became reality in 2007 when my first book, Adventures at Walnut Grove: A Lesson about Teasing, was published. I currently reside in Allenton, Michigan with my husband and our two sons.  

Here are some answers to questions that I am asked quite often by adults and children.

Why did you decide to write children’s books?
When I was growing up my mom would always tell us stories using a squirrel as the main character. Every story always taught some type of life lesson. My mom continues telling the stories to her grandchildren and always has their undivided attention . One day, after watching my boys being mesmerized by my mom’s storytelling, I decided I was going to write them a story of my own.

Did your mom’s squirrel have eyes like a raccoon?
No, that was my idea. The number one reason children (or adults) get teased is for their appearance. I wanted Sammy to look different so that it gives parents and teachers the opportunity to discuss diversity with children.

Why did you write a book about teasing? 
I sat down and wrote Adventures at Walnut Grove soon after a school shooting. With such horrific crimes to children implemented by children I decided to write a story about teasing. I believe that it is never too early to start teaching children to treat others as they would like to be treated. 

Have I ever been dared to do anything?
Of course, I think everyone has been dared, double-dared, or double-dog-dared to do things that they shouldn’t do. I wrote I DOUBLE Dare You! so kids realize that just because your friends do something doesn’t mean that you have to follow them! It’s important to try to make good decisions.

How did you come up with the names, Silly and Sassy?
I realized after I wrote Adventures at Walnut Grove that I didn’t have any female characters in the story. I was speaking with one of my friends, Vanessa, and told her that I wanted to add a female squirrel named Sassy to my next book. Vanessa said that she had a pet squirrel named Silly and suggested that I use Silly and Sassy. I thought it was a great idea! Silly and Sassy became Sammy’s cousins that always get into trouble!

Did you send your book to a publisher?

Why didn’t you send it to a publisher?
I originally wrote Adventures at Walnut Grove for my own children. I asked my mother-in-law, Judy, to do the illustrations and she accepted. I thought that it would be a nice gift for my kids for Christmas. I have a friend, Gayle Brohl, who does graphic design, and she offered to layout the book for me. After a lot of encouragement and the success of the story in my own family, I researched sending my story to a publisher in order to reach a wider audience. I read in numerous places that a publisher only wants your manuscript, and I wasn’t willing to give up the illustrations. I did some more research and decided to start Lehman Publishing.

Can you tell us about your illustrator?
Judy Lehman is my mother-in-law. She has been an artist for over fourty years. Judy is a retired schoolteacher. She currently resides in Hubbard Lake, Michigan with her husband George. I have had authors ask if she would be interested in doing illustrations for them, but she graciously declines. She is retired and enjoys a lot of other activities, such as golf and camping.

What’s your favorite thing about being an author? 
Other than reading and writing, I also love school visits and a program called ASK. I enjoy interacting with all the kids.

What did you do before you started writing for children?
I have been a stay at home mom since the birth of my first son. Now I work from home and still get to work around my boys’ schedules.

Are you working on any new books?
Yes, the fifth book in the series titled, Never Judge a Raccoon by her Size. Rocky’s cousin Rosie comes to Walnut Grove to visit for the Fall Festival. Rosie is different from the other raccoons. She is a dwarf raccoon. Unfortunately, most animals judge her because of her size. But she can do anything anyone else can do. Judy will be working on the illustrations in the spring of 2016.  

Why did you write about self-esteem?
It took me awhile to build up enough confidence in myself to publish my first book. I kept doubting myself. But with the encouragement of my family and friends I developed a more positive attitude. I am still amazed at how far I have come by taking a chance and believing in myself! Now I always encourage people to follow their dreams. As my mom said, don’t ever look back at your life and wonder what could have been. Take the opportunity that you are given and find out now.

A percentage of book sales go to help local charities.

© 2007 Lehman Publishing - P.O.Box #115, Allenton, Michigan 48002-0115 - 810-395-4535 - dana@lehmanpublishing.com