Author Interview and GIVEAWAY with Vanessa Keel for National Puppy Day

Hey Math is Everywhere readers,


dog with bug on nose

From National Calendar:

Observed each year on March 23rd, National Puppy Day celebrates the unconditional love and affection puppies bring to our lives.  Their cuddles and wiggles make us smile and without a doubt, there are squeals of delight when there are puppies around!

National Puppy Day is also a day to bring awareness to the need for care of and homes for orphaned pups as well as to educate people about the horrors of puppy mills across the country. Puppies are a big responsibility. Be sure to consider everything involved and adopt from a shelter. The puppies there need love and a home just as much as any other and they grow into loyal pets, too!

For more information on National Puppy Day visit

To help us celebrate today, we have debut author Vanessa Keel to talk about her picture book, Boomer At Your Service.

picture of vanessa

Kaitlyn: Thanks so much for joining us today, Vanessa.

Vanessa: Thank you for inviting me, Kaitlyn. I’m so happy to be a part of this cause to help raise awareness. 

Kaitlyn: Let’s dig right in to this interview: What connection do you have with service dogs? How did Boomer come about?

Vanessa: I’ve loved dogs all my life and feel a deep connection with them. So, when it came time to choose, picking a dog for my main character came easily. But I also knew from the beginning that I wanted this book to serve a higher purpose. Boomer is a dog who wants nothing more than to be a service dog, but he doesn’t always get things right…and that’s ok. We see him make mistakes throughout the book until he just doesn’t quite know where he belongs anymore. I think many children can relate to this feeling and I wanted to write a story that shows how perseverance and kindness can lead to greatness.  

Kaitlyn: You definitely accomplished your goal, Vanessa, great job! Also, I love the twist at the end of the story. Was that planned from the start or did it surprise you too? 

Vanessa: Thank you. I love that Boomer eventually does find his special purpose in life. The ending was actually planned from the beginning. Through my research about service dogs, I found out only about 50% of dogs who go through their training will complete their certification and go on to serve a person. Some of the dogs who “fail” become amazing pets and can become very successful therapy dogs. I wanted to write a story that shows children that sometimes our failures can become our greatest strengths. As they are growing, they may misstep or be misunderstood, but there is a place for everyone in this world…just like Boomer.

Kaitlyn: Wow, I had no idea. Our family German Shepard when I was a kid “failed” to become a police dog because she was frightened of loud noises. I had no idea it was so normal. This is such a beautiful way to see failure. What is your hope for this book? 

Vanessa: Boomer At Your Service is my debut book. For me, the biggest thing I want is for Boomer and this story to have a positive impact on children. I want it to bring them joy. One of my favorite things to do is to visit schools and libraries. I usually bring a service dog or therapy dog with me and teach the kids all about what they do and how they help people with special needs, even children. I love seeing their smiles and their faces light up when I read the book aloud to them. It warms my heart. And then there are times when the response to my book is beyond my wildest dreams. I’ve had people with special needs send me messages or come up to me at events to thank me for writing this book. They thank me for showcasing a character they can relate to and that means the world to me. 

Kaitlyn: That is just the best. What advice can you share with authors about the journey to publication?

Vanessa: I would say that it takes a lot of hard work and determination. I think some people may think writing a children’s book seems easy, but it isn’t. There is a skill involved with trying to tell a meaningful story in 500 words or less, with page turns that create excitement, or that can make you laugh or cry.  You can’t do this gig for the money because there usually isn’t much in it. But if you want your books to teach children how to be incredible little people…then do it with all your heart. The feeling when you finally get to open your book and see your story come to life on the pages for the first time is unmatched.

Kaitlyn: Thanks for the great advice and for visiting today to talk about National Puppy Day and your book!

Vanessa: Thank you so much! I hope everyone will submit a photo of their pup or visit an animal shelter to snap a photo and consider adoption for a chance to win a signed copy of Boomer At Your Service. Good luck!!! 

Kaitlyn’s Review of Boomer at your Service

Adriana Hernández Bergstrom’s adorable illustrations bring Vanessa Keel’s lovely story to life. From one mishap to another, Boomer, a trained service dog, finds his place with a family who needs him and whom he needs back. This sweet tale reminds us all that our path isn’t always what we expect–like the Rolling Stones said, “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you find, you get what you need.”

Vanessa’s Bio

Vanessa Keel’s love for dogs started at a young age. Pretending to be one at her parent’s dinner parties eventually led to a puppy of her own. Vanessa spent her career creating award-winning advertising campaigns. Working at The Walt Disney Company is the time she cherishes most. Now, she has her own characters and stories she hopes will bring joy to children everywhere. She’s currently negotiating with her husband to agree to a furry friend for their baby boy. To learn more, please visit

Teacher Guide, Activity Kit, Coloring Pages: 

Facebook: @vanessakeelbooks
Instagram: @vform
Twitter: @keelbooks

Book description and links:

All Dogs Deserve A Home: A heart-warming and humorous tale following a dog on his dream of finding a family to serve.

It’s Boomer’s Service Dog Graduation Day. But disaster strikes forcing him to go out and find a family on his own. Catastrophe after calamity leave him feeling hopeless until a furry feline changes his fate forever. Boomer finds friendship, his happily-ever-after home, and his special purpose in life . . . but it’s not what you think. 

cover with dog and cat on back

Giveaway Time!!

Vanessa is giving away a SIGNED copy of Boomer At Your Service (Continental US only)

How to get in on the Giveaway:

  1. Comment on this blog post
  2. Retweet the tweet about this post with a puppy pic–it can be your dog or a shelter pup that needs a home!–and at least one of these hashtags:


  3. Request that your library order a copy of Boomer At Your Service and share in the comments that you did so

Each one of the above gets you another entry into the giveaway!


Thank you all for joining us today to talk about puppies and books! Happy National Puppy Day! We can’t wait to see your awesome puppy pictures (and yes, in my head ALL dogs are puppies. I called my huge German Shepard, Tara, a puppy until the day she passed away, and will always think of her as my puppy.)



Kaitlyn Leann Sanchez

If you haven’t checked out the Spring Fling Kidlit Contest coming up on April 7th, we’ve got some AMAZING prizes that will connect winners with wonderful published authors, author-illustrators, agents, and editors, so hop to it! Check out all the info here.

19 thoughts on “Author Interview and GIVEAWAY with Vanessa Keel for National Puppy Day

  1. Thanks for the great interview, Kaitlyn and Vanessa. I love this line: “But if you want your books to teach children how to be incredible little people…then do it with all your heart.” Boomer sounds like a great character.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. We have this book and it is definitely one we reread a lot! Boomer is the sweetest and I loved reading about how this story came to be. I especially love the message that there’s “a place for everyone.” Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Happy Puppy Day! All dogs are puppies to me too, Kaitlyn! And thank you for the great interview, Vanessa. I can’t wait to read Boomer’s story.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Vanessa gave me great feedback on my MS that was runner-up for the PBchat mentorship. It really improved my story. I will always be grateful for that. I haven’t been able to read this book yet, but the illustrations are amazing and draw me in everytime I see them.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Love this book and a huge congrats on it being your debut book Vanessa. I never heard of National Puppy Day so now I will add it to my calendar. I walk dogs at my local animal shelter and because of our times we are only open now by appointment. But this last week we placed 108 pets in their forever homes. What great news on Puppy Day.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This book looks wonderful. My family raised raised three dogs to be guides for the blind. Two failed (one for medical reasons, one was too hyper) and one made it through. We ended up keeping the hyper one!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. We have 2 service dogs at school, a Golden Retriever named Max and a Beagle named Ralph. They are a joy to have in our building and serve a great purpose. Max is brand new this year and is still being trained so he could probably relate to making mistakes and learning from them. Great topic for a book!


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