by Bonnie O'Brian, California Readers

What inspired you the most to write TOMMY THE THROWAWAY DOG  for children, as a children’s book?
I was horrified and saddened by the entire story--and some graphic photos that accompanied the story--yet at the same time deeply inspired by the people who cared enough to give Tommy a second chance.  I simply felt compelled to create something to educate children about animal welfare.

Is TOMMY THE THROWAWAY DOG your first published work? 
Yes, and there are more stories in the works.

How long have you been writing children's stories?
Only during the last few years! But I have been writing poetry forever.

You are invited to do readings/Q&As at schools, libraries, and special animal welfare and literacy events.  What has been the children’s reaction to Tommy’s story and to the book?
They experience a range of emotions at the story’s sad beginning, hopeful middle, and very happy ending.  They cheer the trash collector that found Tommy and cared enough to call 911; they feel shock when they find out that Tommy’s first owner (the abuser) is a woman; they squeal with delight when they learn that Tommy finally learned how to play with toys...and they wish Tommy lived out here so that they could meet him and hug him.  They are thrilled that Tommy has a new home.  Some of them want extra reassurance that he is really ok today.  They love the book’s illustrations.  They love to share their memories and personal experiences with regard to companion animals, animal welfare, and visits to shelters.  They order books and ask their parents to order books.  And they ask when I am going to return so that they can talk to me again.

Students love to write to you.  What are some of the most memorable letters you have received?
Just recently I received 52 letters from students from one school in Los Angeles.  A little girl wrote, at the end of her beautiful letter, “Miss Marlowe, thanks to your visit I learned that pets are not just animals...they’re FAMILY.”  I haven’t been able to stop thinking about her words, how she really “got it,” how the story made an impact on her.  I treasure each letter, some of which have adorable drawings.  Some students email me, too, and visit

What about the reactions of teachers, librarians, humane organization staff and program directors?  
They love the book and how it provides reading enrichment, education, inspiration, and hope.  They also love my presentation and interactions with the kids.

Eventually you worked to create an Apple iTunes iBook, as well as an educational DVD to tie-in with the book; what’s in the DVD? 
An introduction;  Storytime Movies of the book with an original orchestral score; six songs in sing-along format from the June musical TOMMY’S NO THROWAWAY DOG, and narration; printable coloring book pages of several of the book’s illustrations; news stories; Q&A material; photos; and elements to facilitate a recreation of the musical that was created by and performed at a school in Los Angeles.

Where can one find the book? 
Distributors such as Barnes and Noble, Amazon, and Tower, and Walgreens Sherman Oaks...and of course through the publisher, Mirror Publishing of Milwaukee.

The book is available in Spanish as well.  What’s the title? 

Tommy the Throwaway Dog © 2010 Laura Marlowe