Six years ago, I had the idea that my dog Koda could speak, in his own words, about his wildlife adventures. At the time, Koda was almost seven years old and lived most of his life in the mountains adjacent to Yellowstone National Park. He’d had encounters with wolves and grizzlies, but also watched elk give birth, been caught in a trap, lived with a pika, and many more experiences rare for most domestic dogs. I thought telling stories about wildlife through the eyes of a dog would excite children. Yet as I worked on the manuscript, the essence of Koda’s nature just wasn’t coming through. I put the book aside, unable to figure out how best to let Koda tell his story.
In October of last year, Koda took his last breath and the unfinished manuscript began to gnaw at me. The book wasn’t right, yet I didn’t have any idea how to change it. I decided to put pen to paper so to speak and begin again. This time the story flowed. Instead of a series of chapters with different animals, Koda’s real tale was represented through his smells and encounters with the valley’s wolves. At the heart of every dog sleeps a wolf, echoes from deep within their genetic past.
When I moved with Koda to my home east of Yellowstone, wolves were still protected and close encounters were not uncommon. Several wolf packs vied for dominance in the valley every winter, and the drama played out before our eyes. Koda and the Wolves tells the story of a dog’s attraction to wild nature embodied in his kin, the wolf; but also how a dog’s naivete of the wolf’s intense territoriality can be his downfall.
Every story in the book, told in Koda’s voice, really happened. My hope is that Koda’s story will bring us all to a better understanding and kinship with his brother, the wolf.
To support that vision, I am pledging 100% of the profits from the book beginning May 2020* through July 2020 to support wolves. In order to maximize donation dollars (due to the tiered, very tight, structural profit distribution in the publishing industry) only books that are bought directly through my website (lesliepattenbooks.com) will be able to provide donations. Donations will go to Wolves of the Rockies.
UPDATE: With the donation campaign over, I’m happy to announce we raised over $1000 for Wolves of the Rockies. If there is interest, WofR and I might repeat this campaign after the holidays in 2021. Thanks to all who participated. Koda and the Wolves can be purchased through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or your local bookstore. If you want a signed copy, please order directly through my website and click on the PayPal link.
4 thoughts on “Koda and the Wolves. Evolution of a Children’s Book”
Would like a copy of your book but to save you the shipping cost can I pick it up from you? We will be back out the first week of June.
Yes. I should have the books here ready to ship or sell within a few weeks
Thanks, see you in June.
I am so honored to have met Koda and you in person. Thank your for telling his story and for all you do to educate us about all things wild. Your story of the evolution of his story makes me cry. Thank you! Susan Rhem-Westhoff
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