This Way, Charlie: the idea
Q: Where did the idea for This Way, Charlie come from?
A: Several years ago, a friend showed me a PBS special about unusual animal friendships, that had a segment on a blind horse named Charlie, who had come to sanctuary (Wild Heart Ranch) and was befriended by a goat, named Jack, who helped lead him to pasture every day for many years—and even came to the horse’s rescue during a storm! The story of this unexpected duo, the loyalty, the meeting of challenges together moved me for what it says about the depth of animal friendships. The story also reminded me of a special friendship between two kids I’d worked with: how they had admired each other’s very different strengths and learned to navigate each-others very different developmental and physical challenges. I loved watching how these friends stuck together through both the easy days and the conflicts, and ultimately helped each other grow as they got closer. Jack and Charlie reminded me of many more friendships as well, including my own. I thought it would make an important story for a picture book so I tucked the idea away.
To learn more about the process behind This Way, Charlie you can check out my Storymakers interview for kids and families on KidLit TV, premiering April 21st! You'll learn about the inspiration, process, and the two new goat friends I met on the day of the interview! At the end, I show you two activities you can do at home to help you feel brave and practice making new friends!
In the meantime you can read Charles Santoso and interviewing each other on this blog: