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Interview with Children’s Book Author, Caron Levis

this way, Charlie

this way, Charlie written by Caron Levis and illustrated by Charles Santoso is a beautiful book about friendship, kindness and empathy. 

This non-fiction picture book is inspired by the real-life relationship between Charlie the horse, Jack the goat and their caretaker, Annette King, who founded and runs the Wild Heart Ranch Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Center in Claremore, Oklahoma.

this way, Charlie published by Abrams Books begins with the introduction of Jack the goat, who loves to keep to himself and enjoys his space. When Charlie the horse arrives at the farm, Jack’s life changes! Why can’t Charlie see Jack? Charlie is blind in one eye, which makes it difficult for him to navigate and see the world around him. Charlie struggles to get around the farm due to his visual impairment but doesn’t’ let this get in the way of his friendly personality and “soft glow”. One day, Jack decides to help Charlie by leading the way to his favorite field to graze. This begins a beautiful friendship between Charlie and Jack. They start to spend time every day together and enjoy each other’s company. As Caron beautifully writes, “They kept walking, one hoof in front of the other, until it felt like Jack’s steps were Charlie’s, and Charlie’s steps were Jack’s.”

One day on a walk, Charlie and Jack have their first quarrel. They don’t notice the sky turning dark and beginning to rumble. Before they know it, they are in the middle of a big storm and they lose each other. How will Jack save Charlie? Read the book to find out!

Are you looking for carryover activities? Check out these activities for this way, Charlie on Caron’s website here.

Caron Levis

Caron Levis (MFA; LMSW) is the author of the award winning children’s picture book, Ida, Always (Atheneum) illustrated by Charles Santosos, which the New York Times Book Review calls, “an example of children’s books at their best.” Caron’s other picture book titles include: This Way, Charlie (Abrams 2020, Stop That Yawn! (Atheneum); May I Have A Word? (FSG), and Mama’s Work Shoes (Abrams.)

Her stories for teens and adults have been published in magazines and anthologies; plays have been selected for the Estrogenius Festival and the Samuel French OOB Festival’s Final Forty; the film adaptation of Attendant won Best Short in Sunscreen Film Festival West (2018) and selected for the Garden State Film Festival. Caron is a professor at NYU and The New School’s Creative Writing MFA program where she is the advisor for the Children/YA concentration.

Caron has an LMSW from Hunter College and has facilitated young people’s loss and bereavement groups for The Jewish Board. After many years as an arts educator, Caron now loves using acting and writing to teach social, emotional, and literacy skills to students of all ages through her author workshops. Having trained in acting and dabbled in playwriting,  Caron also enjoys turning theatre techniques into writing tools for groan-ups through her workshop Act-Like-A-Writer and helping shy writers unearth their public speaking voices through Page-to-Stage. 

To learn more about Caron, visit her website here.

To watch Caron read this way, Charlie check out this video here!

This Way, Charlie

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