Rescue Dog is Inspiration for Children's Book

There's a lot of love at the core of Luttrell Library director Kim Todd's new project: love for books, love for kids, love for family, and love for a sassy canine named Lil Bit.

Todd is set this winter to publish the first in a series of illustrated children's books featuring Lil Bit, her rescued terrier and Chihuahua mix. The book, called "Finding Home," is inspired by Lil Bit's real-life rescue story, which Todd is reluctant to reveal because it would spoil the story. Teddy, the boy who becomes Lil Bit's owner, is inspired by Todd's husband and fellow writer Ted.

Local artist Alex Walker is the illustrator, and Todd will be at Maynardville Public Library's Thunder Road Author Rally to promote the book. Todd plans to publish both print and e-book editions.

Todd said she's always enjoyed writing poems and short stories. The idea for Lil Bit's story came from husband Ted.

"It's been a few years ago that he said it would be really neat to write a story about our dog. It could be a really good series, and we talked about some different stories we could do," Todd said.

In 2013, during some downtime at a library conference, Todd decided to get started. She let the story sit for awhile to focus on the library and accomplishing goals she had set there. Then, she started the self-publishing process through CreateSpace to encourage her son to publish his first book, too.

"Even though I wrote it in 2013, I've edited and rewritten it I don't know how many times," said Todd. "It's a process, but I feel like I'm a better writer now."

The story will be appropriate for young readers, and the inspirational story is great for a variety of audiences. But what is it about Lil Bit that makes her fit the starring role?

"It's definitely her personality," said Todd. "She thinks she's a people, and she's just so smart, and she bosses the other dogs around. I kind of paint her as a hero to the little boy in the book. He's her hero and she's his hero in different ways."

Lil Bit's markings help with the hero image, too. With a black coat, white feet, and brown markings on her chest and face, Lil Bit looks like she's wearing a superhero costume.

The moral of the story is one drawn from Todd's Christian faith.

"It's just having faith that things are going to work out and be OK," she said. "It's how I try to live almost every day, just trust and have faith in God."

While plans are still in the works for a website and Facebook page for the book, those interested in the book can Google Kim Todd or call Luttrell Public Library at 865-992-0208.

"I'm just excited to share the story of Lil Bit and hope that children and adults enjoy it," she said. "I hope it's an encouraging and an uplifting story for them. Look for the next one!"

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