For Cory Cole, illustrations were simply part of a lunchtime routine with her son.
Cartoon drawings and puns were entertainment more than anything. If others enjoyed them too, that was a bonus. Illustrating a children’s book was a far-off dream at best. Little did she know that a perfect stranger was writing a story and a golden opportunity was taking shape.
Sarah Burnett-Murray has always loved writing, but (like most people) has been busy with the realities of life. Sarah had a betta fish named Frank. Frank had an unusual story and Sarah felt compelled to write it down and tell it to others. On a whim, she wrote the story and shared it with a friend who thought it was fantastic. Sarah’s friend told a friend, and that’s where I come in.
So, how did the story of Frank the Fish actually come to be? When I heard about Frank the Fish, I was intrigued and reached out to Sarah. I had started publishing books after losing my job during the pandemic. It was a forced opportunity to follow a dream that I never thought would happen. I had never published a children’s book before, so I put a call out on social media for illustrators. A friend of mine from elementary school shared the post and Cory responded. We all found each other through our shared connections and a touch of social media magic. Sarah has always wanted to be an author, Cory has always wanted to illustrate children’s books, and I’ve always wanted to publish books. Three people who didn’t know each other before but will now forever be friends. Voila!
But what makes the story of Frank the Fish so compelling? This story aligns with the real process of adoption and demonstrates the time and effort involved in owning a pet. It’s a real story of hope, abandonment, trust, family, and home. Frank doesn’t sugar-coat the hard things in life but shows readers that good things happen. It helps children to understand and discuss the difficult topics in life while following Frank on his journey to find his forever home.
Now that “Team Frank” has been formed, there will be more Frank adventures to come. This isn’t just a children’s book series in the making. It’s about the dreams of three individuals coming true. It’s about finding people with a shared vision and making something truly magical happen. It’s about a fish, whose presence was larger than just his time here on earth.
Editor’s note: The book will be available in time for Christmas in the Village at Millbrook Mercantile and the Pastry Peddler, and through Amazon.
By Marcia Allyn Luke