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Why do books for children center around animals?

Have you ever wondered why so many kid’s books feature animals? I’m so thrilled to have my article featured in Local Paws Magazine! I hope you’ll check it out here:
Be sure to read all of the other great articles in the magazine too! Lots of informative stuff that’s great for pet owners and animal lovers.

Why books for children centre around animals

Informative Articles

If you have kids, you probably have bookshelves full of stories that center around animals, but do you know why authors choose to feature animals as main characters and what children stand to gain from this?

As a publisher whose collection for kids features a ton of different animals, it’s been my experience that authors and illustrators love creating animal-based characters because they are universal, familiar, and comforting to most of the population. This is especially true for children because animals are a constant, stable image that change far less rapidly in time than people do. Books that feature anthropomorphic creatures as main characters help teach children important lessons of empathy, love, teamwork, problem-solving, and acceptance without being heavy-handed or preachy.

Why do we so often transform animals in children’s books? It may seem strange to some, but anthropomorphism and transmogrification have been part of storytelling for as long as humans have been telling stories. Anthropomorphism is a useful device, allowing readers to use their own experiences to connect with the characters and themes in a story.

The importance of animals in children’s books offers a survey of the changing representations of animals in the world of children’s literature, from their earliest appearance as symbols to their present function as characters within the stories themselves. Animals in children’s literature play an important role in the lives of children and their parents and guardians. Children use them as a vehicle to engage meaningfully with their environment, to gain perspective on the world around them, and ultimately to develop confidence in their ability to cope with challenges.

Children’s assumed familiarity with pets and animals can help them understand the chaotic, ever-changing world around them in a gentle, non-threatening way and can soften complex issues that books explore, such as death, divorce, illness, and bullying, as examples. Additionally, studies show many benefits when children read to animals, such as no fear of judgment if they make a mistake and an increased willingness to try again if they stumble over a word.  

Reading is one of the most fundamental skills that children learn. It helps them develop essential literacy skills, and it helps them learn how to understand their world. Reading can also help children develop compassion, imagination, and a love of learning. But reading can be difficult for kids who have trouble focusing on an activity for long periods of time. This is where animals come in! Reading to an animal or cuddling with an animal while reading show an increase in engagement for children. Reading aloud to a beloved pet has been shown to increase reading comprehension by up to 30%. Cuddling with animals also expands relaxation and lowers stress levels, which can help keep kids focused on their books for longer amounts of time.

And if that wasn’t enough, benefits from cuddling with animals while reading also leads kids to take an interest in an animal species! Children who are interested in animals will want to learn more about them, which gives parents the opportunity to talk with kids about conservation efforts or what they’re doing to help protect wildlife in their area, and they will seek out books that fill those needs. 

As the world has grown to discover the needs of children and what makes them happy, books have become one of the key tools in discovering children’s learning and development. As children grow, so do their interests in the world around them, expanding from toys and friends to animals, the environment, and people different from themselves.

We all have the responsibility to take care of and preserve our world and the animals that live in it. Through children’s books, we can teach kids the importance of taking care of animals and preserving their habitats and natural resources. They can also learn about possible careers based around animals as well as our interconnectedness with each other as humans and other creatures on this planet.

Article by Lacey L. Bakker 
Lacey L. Bakker is the owner of Pandamonium Publishing House, where the motto is Publishing Made Simple. We take a complex, chaotic, confusing publishing process and make it easy so that you can get back to what really matters, sharing your stories with friends, family, and the world.

Instagram: pandamonium_publishing_house8

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A Saintly Soul Abducted

Day 4 of the 5-part series A Sainlty Soul Abducted by K.G. Watson

McNeil bit his tongue.  He knew how dangerous it was to speak in anger.  He ground his teeth and waved Liam on.  Better to get this over.  There was not much left in the pile of paper beside his chair.

Liam, too, had to draw a deep breath to regain some composure.  “These are a list of sources that refer to events surrounding St. Patrick on a very broad timescale.  Patrick was born and died in about 400 CE.  Drogheda was 3500 BCE.  Brian Boru was about 1000CE.”  He touched each collection as it stuck out from the pile.  I want to use the Book of Kells as another exhibit in my case.  As you know, this book was a copy of the four Gospels and is dated from about 800 CE.”

McNeil was well acquainted with this source.  He’d visited it where it was on display at Trinity College in Dublin.  Sure enough, Liam started with the missing pages and the cover that someone had torn off for the jewels it used to contain that embellished it.

I want to use this to show that there was likely an ‘underground’ within the Church at the time – a fifth column whose presence went back to at least St. Patrick.  Patrick was ordained, as we both know, but his voiceprint supporting a liberation point of view lived on after he died, and I suggest the evidence is here.”  He tapped the top of a collection of photocopies of the elaborately illustrated pages.

“Though the pictures were painted in extraordinary detail with some figures smaller than a millimetre, nobody has spent much time asking how that could be.  Ground glass lenses were an invention to come – almost 800 years later.  Yet here is evidence that that could be easily explained if the artist was looking through a glass as the details were built up.   I cite your own work on the 100+ calves that gave up their hide for the vellum.  I answer the source you question about the blue pigment.  It was Lapis Lazuli, and at the time, the only source on earth was modern-day Afghanistan.  How did the crystals make their way across half the world to Ireland?

Well, they did.  There’s the proof.  And since they did, it is no stretch to imagine that a hand lens, sufficient to the task, was also collected on the way.  So when someone had enough sins, and the wealth to buy forgiveness from them appeared, the exotic materials and technology were at hand for a highly skilled illuminator to go to work.  The managers focussed all their attention on the words that were repeated or missed.  When lenses next crossed the theological table, Galileo had made one and put it into a telescope that showed the moon was cratered, not perfect, as the Church claimed that God had made it.  God doesn’t make battered work.   It was the lens’s fault.  It was the demonic eye.  Looking through it distorted God’s beauty.

Nobody knew, or had forgotten that the Book of Kells might have used another demonic eye in its creation.  The book’s purpose was to be a worthy addition to the world of writing.  But I can find no protest that the original Celtic symbols that portrayed a circular theological view entirely at odds with the linear view of the church at that time were on page after page.  Here, in the most historic book of their time, was the plain evidence of the parallel acceptability of the circle of life surrounding the words that said life was just a line – birth, death, heaven.  And the Christian managers never noticed, or if they did, were prepared to explain it as pretty decoration.  They chose not to see the encouragement for Ireland to rise again, and again and never give up.    

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A Saintly Soul Abducted

Day 3 of 5 of the short story A Saintly Soul Abducted by K.G. Watson

McNeil slouched back in what amounted to blasphemy from his student and was about to interrupt, but Liam knew enough not to let him.  If he let the Prof get started, he’d spout propaganda that had the weight of time and lineage he revered.  Liam plunged on.

“Millennia before there was a Christian church in Ireland, there was an oral tradition, as there was in most of the world. Writing arrived like a scourge.  It was the tool of the weak-memoried or anti-social.  But writing was mystical in allowing communication between people who never met and across time that exceeded lifetimes.  Could there be a better device made for support of a religious practice that claimed communion with the miraculous?”

“The trump card was that it eliminated the fallibility of human recall – sometimes.  Here was certainty on the written page.  Except for those who felt obliged to add words of interpretation.  “This is what the author really meant,” claimed those trying to elevate themselves above the original.  So in Patrick and the snakes, the interpreters claimed the use of the word for ‘serpents’ was a metaphorical one.  

“We know there were no snakes.  We think he was referring to pagans in their midst,” and they chuckle their way down an explanation that ignores the source and intent of the original oral presentation.

“To illustrate the point about oral tradition conveying accurate information over millennia, you can’t beat the burial mound at Newgrange in Drogheda County.  Details of astronomical observation were collected over eons by those living there before the pyramids were built.  It was passed by word of mouth generation after generation until enough had been gathered and saved without writing, and the tomb could be built about 3200 BCE.  We’re talking about a memory exercise that exceeds the time the Christian Church has existed!”  A thick sheaf of photocopies joined the others on the table.

McNeil had never felt so assaulted!  The very foundation of modern progress rested on the infallibility of the written word.  His pupil had just pointed out that libraries of the world had not been around as long as they had been.  He exploded out of his chair.  “You cannot test words not written.  What you would do by raising gossip to the level of careful thought is turn the wisdom of the ages, written in books, into a debate.”  The older man was livid.

“Is it a debate about what was really, or what people wanted it to be?”

“It’s not as easy as that,” shot back the equally red-faced student as his supervisor sat.  “Our protestant friends not long ago had a program of trying to decide from the Biblical records what Jesus said.  By applying a term called ‘voice printing’ along with other criteria, they feel they have extracted the words for the man at the well from those that copiers or editors added over time.  At least it gave another view of this person they worship … without the window dressing.”



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A Saintly Soul Abducted

Day 2 of a 5-day short story series by K.G. Watson

“My second collection of evidence supporting the claim that Patrick’s reputation was abducted is this,” Liam said as he laid it out.   “Gene expression can be affected by social situations.  The field is evolving, but there is enough evidence to support that the Irish have been trying to break free of oppression since the get-go.  I use Brian Boru to illustrate even though he is from about 1002 CE – 600 years after Patrick. But he makes my point.  Irish had been struggling long before then, and I think that fighting for national identity was alive and well when Patrick was walking the hills.”

McNeil looked askance at the packet that Liam had picked off the floor.  “The topic is called ‘Epigenetics.  It was not known until about 50 years ago, but it gains credibility with yet more evidence every day.  I offer these results from Holland.” Thud!

“By using these data in my thesis, I am bringing the field out of the realm of legend and opening new avenues for future research.  You told me that should be a goal of my research.”

McNeil nodded agreement but hated the fact that he could no longer keep up with his pupil if he opened that door.

“You’ll get a lot of pushback going that route, young man.”

“Well, I thought this was supposed to be a research project,” Liam stressed the adjective. “If established authority is only going to accept its own evidence, does it not stop being what it was required to be?”

“I’m simply saying,” McNeil blustered.  “Go on.”

“Well, new research will come up again, but more obliquely.  Let me come back to it later.”

Liam paused to get his thoughts back on track.  “In every Irish case I’ve read, the hero is one who supports independence of thought.  Patrick stands out for the souls he has rescued by bringing them to the Christian God rather than his bringing disparate tribes together.  Oddly, those first references are from ecclesiastical sources who would benefit from having such a hero on their side.   Here’s a person of such stature that he is a national hero.  On the one hand, he is claimed to be almost messianic in his godliness; on the other, he is revered for standing against forces of oppression that the first side definitely was.  The defeat of pagan religion was the objective of the early Christian Church in Ireland.  To do that, they chose to defeat their adversary by making him seem to become one of them.   He drove the poisonous snakes from Ireland, say those looking to credit him with a miracle.  We know from centuries of scientific study there never were any there.  Those who sought to control Ireland had pasted a veneer of stories over him as they turned him into a hero of the oppressors.”

And they wrap up their arguments by referring to written records, often from centuries later, as proof of how virtuous Patrick was.  Those writers and readers had forgotten the source of the Irish national wisdom.  Willfully blind, they gazed past evidence which we can now see and which reveals their abduction.

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A Saintly Soul Abducted By K.G. Watson

It’s the week leading up to St. Patrick’s Day, so I thought it would be fun to share a 5 part story by none other than our very own K.G. Watson. Each day when you visit our website,, you’ll get to enjoy another part of the story from March 13-March 17.

Also, K.G. Watson has a brand new book titled Found Money, which is available right now for order through! American Friends, get your copies here: Found Money: 9781989506684: Watson, K.G.: Books

For our Canadian friends, the listing should show available stock in the next few days, so add it to your wishlist in the meantime! Found Money : Watson, K.G.: Books

Here’s part 1 of A Saintly Soul Abducted by K.G. Watson

“ A  SAINTLY  SOUL  ABDUCTED” read the title on the candidate’s paper.  “A correction of historical perceptions of the life and preaching of a Saint,” read the subtitle.

Dr. McNeil groaned inwardly as he raised it and lifted his eyebrows for an explanation.

“Well, Patrick was awarded ‘honourary saintly’ status not just because he arrived before the criteria were written down,” said the earnest red-haired and freckle-faced young man, “but because he won many hearts, then died.  The reference to his soul and the ‘abduction’ claim is consistent with historical references.”  McNeil scanned the lines of small print at the bottom.  He was wondering if he’d taught his student too well.

“I footnoted each item at the bottom.  I don’t think he was captured by Irish pirates, though that is what his legend claims.  I think he preached to the rebel’s justification in fighting for their identity.  Others took over his memory and twisted it to their ends.  I contend that the St. Patrick we think we know today, is not the one who lived about 400 CE in Ireland. ”

McNeil could see this would be a longer discussion than he had intended.  Did he really need such an angular thinker?  Could he even continue to supervise him as a PhD candidate?  Maybe it was his penance that he’d been assigned to be Liam’s mentor.  His thoughts were blown away by the logical brickwork that was stacked in the lad’s lap and on the floor by his chair, ready to be laid out on his desk.  He suggested they move to his conference table, and swept it clear.

“My arguments rest on three lines of research,” Liam began.  “First there is the written record.”  He laid down a small sheaf of reprints like a dealer at a poker table.  “Pātricius, was his name in the earliest writing naming him.  There is no agreement on his place of birth or actual date but the best data supports him having a northern British or Scottish ancestry in the late 300’s CE.  Rome was in retreat from England.”  

“Patrick’s father, Calpurnius, is described as a decurion (Senator and tax collector) of an unspecified Romano-British city, and as a deacon; his grandfather Potitus was a priest from Bonaven Tabernia in central England.  What slips between the lines however, is Patrick’s confession in later life was that he was not an active believer in his youth.” Another page was added to the pile.  

“My point is that, young Patrick’s reluctance to go to Church at a time of political unrest, when his family was deeply involved in The Roman administration, could have been life-saving.  The family were probably identified as ‘Collaborators’.”  Liam let the negative consequences of that conclusion settle before continuing. 

“Dad and Grandfather had sold their souls for the benefits of supporting Roman Rule.   It makes more sense to me to see Patrick a nationalist.  His abduction to Ireland wasn’t any such thing.  Patrick escaped there to distance himself from the retribution that would follow as soon as the soldiers left.”  McNeil was getting a growing feeling that Liam’s assertions were going completely off the rails.  Perceiving the disgust his mentor was signalling, Liam was already peeling out his next photocopy.

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Intentions Don’t Matter. Results Do.

I know I’m going to make a lot of people angry with this post, but it needs to be said. Intentions don’t matter; the only thing that matters is results. To quote The Fast and The Furious, “It doesn’t matter if you win by an inch or a mile, winning’s winning.” You can have all the intentions in the world, but no one actually cares. They care about the end result. Successful people don’t value good intentions; they value the results. Unsuccessful people attach great importance to their attempts and intentions at getting results, even if nothing happens. You can’t pay your bills with hugs and nice, fluffy intentions. Imagine telling the bank, “I had every intention of paying my mortgage this month, and I made some really good progress and got a little bit closer and put in a lot of effort, but I didn’t get the money.” You’ll be getting a letter in the mail real soon, and if you keep up your ‘intent,’ you’ll be finding a new place to live. Please don’t confuse intent with results, and remember that outcome always trumps output. Effectiveness and success are about progress, not intentions. That’s the real world, and you certainly don’t need a reminder. We live in a world where intent and ideas are great, but they will always play a back seat to results. So, are you patting yourself on the back for what you intend to do? Or are you waiting to celebrate once you’ve reached your goal and have completed it? Let’s be clear, you’re not going to reach all of your goals immediately, and you need to take deliberate, measured, specific, continuous action, but don’t waste your time congratulating yourself for ‘intent’. Congratulate yourself when you make it. “Do or do not. There is no try.” Give it your all and get it done. The right actions should drive and impact results. It doesn’t matter how you get from point A to point B; what matters is that you get where you’re going. Maybe I’m just in my villain era, I don’t know, and I don’t care, but what I know for sure is that results are rewarded, not intent or meaning to or one day or someday, and that’s the way it is. Do you know how many times I’ve been at book shows, and people have come up to me and said, “I’m an author too!” “Great,” I say, “I’ll grab a copy of your book; where can I get it?” Imagine my surprise when they say, “Oh, it’s not done yet, I’ve been working on it for a few years, but I intend to finish it…one day.” Don’t confuse intent with results. I fully intended to be the person who stitched up the hockey players in the NHL. Did that happen? No. I had every intention in the world, but I didn’t take the appropriate actions, and that’s the difference between dreaming and doing. Don’t be just a dreamer, be a dreamer who DOES. A dreamer with a plan of action to get there. Did Michelangelo intend to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, or did he actually do it? You get the point. And if you don’t, you’ve come to the wrong place. Every single person on my team shows results, not intentions. It’s the minimum standard around here. And you should have the same standard for your life. Surround yourself with people who get things done.

The look you get when you tell me you “intend” to.

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Surprise! We’ve been keeping a secret…

Surprise! My team and I have been working tirelessly on this for months, and we’re finally excited to tell you that we’re launching a brand new digital magazine titled The Publisher’s Desk! It focuses on all things books and will feature authors, emerging artists, hot-button issues, tips, and much more! The magazine will officially launch in March 2023. If you’re an author or artist who would like to be featured, send us an email at

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Illiteracy Links…

I’ve done a lot of research over the years about illiteracy rates in Canada and how they’re linked to crime, poverty, and increased mortality rates. That’s why we’ve created the Adopt-a-School initiative through Pandamonium Publishing House-we strive to provide as many children with books as possible, but we can’t do it without your help! Check out some of the alarming stats below:

The number of illiterate Canadians in 2023 is staggering. 1 Forty-eight percent of Canadian adults (approximately 17 million) are considered to have inadequate literacy skills (1The Conference Board of Canada), which means they cannot read or write well enough to perform everyday tasks such as reading instructions on medicine, filling out applications, or reading street signs. 2 One million Canadian children under the age of fifteen are estimated to have below-grade-level literacy skills, that’s 1 in 8 kids ( Why does this matter? By investing early in a child’s education, we can change the future for Canadians. In a report by 3 Deloitte, a one percent increase in literacy would create an economic benefit of $67 billion in gross domestic product for Canada per year and could boost the standard of living for everyone (3 An economic Overview of Children’s Literacy in Canada, November 2020). Illiteracy is linked to crime, poverty, and an increase in mortality rates. 4 People who come into contact with police, as suspects, victims, or witnesses, tend to have lower literacy skills. And neighbourhoods with lower literacy levels tend to have higher crime rates. People with low literacy often lack adequate problem-solving skills and tend to be less active citizens as well as more statistically likely to be involved in crime either as the offender or the victim. Offenders are
three times as likely to have literacy problems than the rest of the population, 79 of 100 people entering Canadian correctional facilities do not have a high school diploma, and 65 of 100 people entering correctional facilities have less than a grade 8 education or level of literacy skills ( 5 Illiteracy is a problem for the Canadian economy as evidence shows that adults with low literacy skills are less likely to be employed and tend to stay unemployed for longer periods (5 College, 2019). 6 Statistics Canada reports that for individuals with literacy rates in the lowest category, 29% were low-income households (6Statistics Canada, 2016). Illiteracy is also linked to increased mortality rates, as those with low levels of literacy are more likely to have poor health and engage in riskier behaviours. 7 People with inadequate health literacy had a 50% higher mortality rate over five years than people with adequate reading skills (7 Illiteracy affects us all. 8 80% of a child’s brain is developed by age three, with a key period of development occurring in their language and literacy skills. Unfortunately, the quality of early childhood education a child receives is often determined by their economic status. By age five, 50% of children living in poverty are not academically or socially ready for school. By fourth grade, the divide increases, with 80% of low-income children reading below grade level. These children often fall behind during critical early years, which not only negatively affects their performance in the classroom but can also impact their social skills, health, and economic status
later in life (

By partnering with Pandamonium Publishing House Adopt-a-School literacy initiative, we can help the most vulnerable children in our country by helping them have access to books and igniting a love of literacy early in their academic careers and potentially throughout their lives. Here’s more information on how you can partner with us: Adopt a School! Literacy Matters – Pandamonium Publishing House

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This fantastic poem titled February was submitted by A. Isaacs, I think it captures the spirit of the month perfectly! If you’d like the chance for your work to be featured on our blog, email


Cloudy skies

Blanket the fields in darkness

The sky is gloomy

The rain taps softly on the window pane

Light a fire, snuggle with your cat, and drink in the romance of this moment

Snuggling under covers, turning the pages slowly so that the story is savoured, escaping from this place

Drink in the words, the worlds, the characters, their lives

The scent of pine, the sizzling branches, that pop and hiss and snap

Contented purr and soft fur rises and falls with her breath


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Have You Checked Out…

Have you checked out our classes, courses, and workshops? We’ve got some great things coming up, whether you get a March Break or not! Here are some options to help you brush up on your skills, start a manuscript from scratch, or learn the publishing industry standards. Plus, we’ve got March Break courses for kids too! Virtual Courses, Classes, and Workshops – Pandamonium Publishing House click on the link or feel free to send us an email at with any questions you have or to get additional details. Our goal is to help you with your writing goals; we strive to teach you the things that matter most to you in your unique publishing journey.

Here’s what some of our students are saying about our classes!