Children love dogs and dogs love children – they share such a special bond.
And author Marie Yates has created a magical story celebrating this and the lessons our dogs can teach children in Luna’s Woodland Adventure.
It’s a children’s book sharing many wonderful lessons from rescue dog Luna who goes for a walk in the woods and has so much fun she gets lost.
This may sound familiar for all you terrier pawrents out there!
Marie has featured on the blog before as she is the founder of Canine Perspective, a social enterprise where adults learn lessons in resilience from rescue dogs.
Earlier this year, Marie decided the messages our dogs give us are so vital that she wanted a way to share them with children too and the idea for Luna’s book was born!
Today – August 23 – is publication day and it is a truly lovely book about kindness, friendship, resilience and what we can learn from the animal kingdom.
If you’ve got kids, get yourself a copy, and you might want a tissue too.
Hi Marie, thank you for talking to us today about Luna’s Woodland Adventure. Can you tell us about Luna firstly?
Luna is our rescue dog mascot and the face of our resilience programmes and the reason why #TeamLuna is such a hit with humans.
She is able to share canine wisdom from a true canine perspective and because she’s so cute, humans are drawn to her in a way they’re not drawn to the wisdom of other humans; which sums up our entire business model really!
Luna is a mixed-breed, mid-sized, rescue dog, representing the awesomeness of rescue dogs in the best way she knows how, by telling her truth.
She shows that just because she has been let down by humans, that doesn’t mean she’s damaged in any way. We’re all surviving something and we can all learn from Luna’s wisdom.
What inspired you to create Luna?
Canine Perspective CIC started because of a book that I wrote, inspired by my own rescue dog, Reggie.
As all dog-lovers know, the only failing of our canine best friends is that they don’t live long enough and I sadly said goodbye to him last year.
I couldn’t base this part of the social enterprise on him because of this and losing him was and still is a difficult thing to deal with.
Talking about him and his legacy as the cornerstone of Canine Perspective is something I am proud of, but I needed a dog that would live forever so that I could talk about her and not cry every time I talk about her.
We have the perfect dog in Luna as she is a synergy of everything I know and love about dogs. I know that we all think we have the perfect dog… and we’re all right!
I’m proud of Luna and I adore her and she’s been brought to life by the pure genius of the illustrators we have the pleasure of working with.
Our original Luna was designed by Stacie Swift and has been developed into the Luna in our children’s book by Fiona Mackay.
These talented women turn my ramblings into more than I could ever have imagined.
Can you tell us a little bit about what people can look forward to in the book?
Luna gets lost in the woods, she was playing and chasing a butterfly and then couldn’t find her human. The book is Luna’s journey home, following a trail and accepting help from her new friends along the way.
These new friends are woodland animals who have specific skills that can help Luna as each stage.
Each skill is true to that animal and embraces the fact that we’re all different and we all have something to offer by being who we are.
Is there a message behind the book?
It’s a message for all of us. We’re brave, we’re doing our best and we just need to believe in ourselves.
Where did the idea for Luna’s Woodland Adventure children’s book come from?
We spend a lot of time with adults on our resilience-building workshops and through our Canine Hope programme who are struggling – consciously or unconsciously – with the legacy of childhood experiences.
This isn’t always through trauma, it’s sometime through the words of the most loving of parents who unwittingly plant seeds in the mind of their child that becomes a core belief that we carry into adulthood.
For example, as a child, were you praised for being quiet and told that you were ‘being good’ because you were conforming, you weren’t speaking up or showing emotion even if you wanted to and ‘quiet’ equalled ‘good’.
At the same time, you might have seen children around you being told off for being loud, speaking up, questioning, crying or running around so they were ‘being bad’.
It’s a common scenario and I hear it all the time with dog guardians; ‘they’re being so good’ is a phrase that’s thrown around when a dog is conforming to our human expectations.
What if you had something to say as a child, what if you were going against every instinct you had to speak your truth, to ask a question, to move your body or to let your emotions out?
Our core beliefs are developing up until the age of six, when they’re not exactly set in stone, but it takes a lot of effort to change them. As we grow up, these core beliefs become our truth. Not THE TRUTH, our truth.
I started to wonder if the adults I spend time with would have benefitted from a positive burst of core beliefs that they could have embedded as children.
Of course they could, we all could! I have spent many, many years changing some of my unhelpful core beliefs and it’s something that’s very much a work in progress for me.
That thought became the catalyst for the book. What if we could embed some positive core beliefs in children while they’re still developing, before the age of six? How exciting would that be?!
So Luna’s Woodland Adventure is the result of that random series of thoughts!
I know it’s not a complete solution but like everything we do, we’re not claiming to have the answer, we just have something to offer that we hope will make a difference.
It’s such an exciting project, and I know you’ve written teen books already, what was it like writing for children?
Writing for children was a whole new ball-game. When I was writing the Dani Moore Trilogy, I was spending time with teenagers, immersed in their world and able to get daily feedback.
I don’t spend my days hanging out with five and six year olds! I had the idea, I knew what I wanted to achieve and I had read every single children’s book for this age group that my local library had in stock.
I even had a minor altercation over the world’s smallest chair in the children’s section of the library, but don’t worry, I won. I had different story ideas but I had no idea if they would work.
Luckily for me, a member of my running club, Sue, is the Deputy Head of a Primary School and she allowed me to come and play, working with her pupils who shared amazing ideas and were open to talking about all the ways Luna could enjoy her adventures.
Learning about what the children enjoyed in their books, the language they used and their incredible creativity sparked the ideas that became Luna’s Woodland Adventure.
This is going to be the first book in Luna’s Adventure Series as we have so many ideas, as well as requests from our illustrator, Fiona, who wants to draw Luna in new locations!
We recruited a team of test readers – adult and child partnerships – who were able to offer feedback on the first draft.
Thanks to their feedback, there were many tweaks. Children are brutally honest in their reviews, but unlike brutal reviews from adults, they make you laugh, not cry!
Fiona then brought the words to life. This has been my first experience of working with an illustrator on a book and it’s a leap of faith.
The book represents everything I believe in; this social enterprise is my heart and soul! I am lucky to have found Fiona and if it’s possible, she loves Luna as much as I do.
She understood everything we wanted to achieve and created pure magic with her illustrations.
And Luna has a pawdcast where she shares her #LunaWisdom for grown-ups
One of the reasons Luna is exists is to make the lessons we can learn from dogs accessible and actionable for humans.
There’s a reason why we’re a dog-loving nation and a reason why dogs are central to the way many of us choose to live our lives. Dogs make our lives better and I believe there’s so much more to this than we currently understand.
Luna shares the lessons we all need to build our resilience in a way that is entertaining and in a short burst, so we can make positive changes through small actions.
How can people find out when there’s a new pawdcast?
We have a popular weekly email, just sign up and join us. It’s a weekly burst of #LunaWisdom and if you’re in need of a pick-me-up to help you through the day, this is a natural mood-enhancer with a canine twist.
Each episode is only a couple of minutes long, so it’s designed for the attention span of busy humans.
What’s next for Luna?
It’s an exciting year for Luna as she’s making her way into shops with her new product range, she has the next phase of her Resilience Revolution to share with the world and she has the next book in her Woodland Adventure Series to write.
She will also make sure that her weekly emails and pawdcasts are available for her favourite humans; members of #TeamLuna!
If you’d like to find out about Marie’s work, you can do so on the following links:
Join #TeamLuna: https://lovelearningfromdogs.com/teamluna/
If you enjoyed this post, you might like to read Why Marie Yates set up Canine Hope or How Purina is helping the Social Entrepreneurs making our lives #BetterWithPets