‘Let’s Go, Milo!’ new children’s book is about outdoor adventures


In hopes of encouraging children to get outside and play, Seymour native Valeri McCarthy has written and illustrated a children’s book about an adventurous miniature dachshund named Milo and his four-legged friends.

“Let’s Go, Milo!” is meant to inspire kids to be more active with full-page illustrations of Milo going on numerous outdoor escapades. This is McCarthy’s first book, which targets children age 6 and under and also early learners and children struggling with word recognition.

“I have long been interested in writing,” McCarthy said. “My realization that some children do not develop as fast or in the same way as others inspired me to do something positive to help them.”

McCarthy said the book can help teach children about different outdoor activities, such as surfing, camping and rock climbing. She hopes the book will pique the interest of kids so they’ll want to experience some of Milo’s adventures for themselves.

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“I became interested in writing about 10 years ago after attending a women’s conference,” McCarthy said. “We did an activity where they asked what we wanted to accomplish in 10 years, and I literally said, ‘Write a book.'”

McCarthy didn’t know why she said that because she was not a writer at the time. She was, however, an artist and illustrator.

“Then I came to the realization that a children’s book takes both writing and illustrating,” McCarthy said. “I never thought in this 10-year span that my writing a book would actually happen, but it did, and I am very grateful.”

The other reason McCarthy decided to write the book is because she used to have a sedentary job that caused physical issues. She had to go to a physical therapist because of the prolonged sitting.

“It’s important to me to get the word out for both kids and adults how important it is to be active,” McCarthy said. “When I was a kid, we used to play kickball in the backyard with the neighbor kids or we’d be out on our bicycles until dusk.”

McCarthy said in a world of computers and ever-present technology, it’s important for children to be active, and when it comes to being active, there is something for everyone.

As for the main character in her book, McCarthy chose Milo because kids usually love dogs, and she wanted to show Milo actually doing the outdoor activities. The main character is modeled after one of her own dogs.

“Milo is our 10-pound mini dachshund, and we also have a chocolate lab that’s 85 pounds named Gunner,” McCarthy said. “I was inspired by Milo because he’s so little but thinks he’s bigger than life, so the real-life Milo inspired the character in the book.”

McCarthy said it took her eight months to write the book, and the time was mostly spent on the illustrations.

“I love illustrating, so this book was so much fun for me, and I’m so happy it all came together,” McCarthy said. “I studied art, graphic and web design and love almost every medium.”

McCarthy said she was really on the fence about making the book available on the e-reader instead of solely in book form.

“I’m trying to get kids away from computers and technology,” McCarthy said. “But some parents might use e-readers for bedtime stories, so the book is available in both versions.”

McCarthy grew up in Seymour and is a 1988 graduate of Seymour High School. She attended college at Ivy Tech Community College in Columbus and then went to Pasadena City College to study art, graphic and website design. While on the West Coast, she also attended the University of California at Los Angeles.

“I’m the former director of operations for a law firm in Pasadena, but at the moment, my focus is to work on more children’s books,” McCarthy said. “I also volunteer my time mentoring children at a local elementary school with an organization called Kids Hope USA.”

McCarthy now lives in Traverse City, Michigan, with her husband, Tim. She said Michigan has many beautiful lakes, and it’s easy to stay fit in a place where people can swim, canoe and paddleboard. Also, the winter season offers skiing and snowshoeing.

“We ended up here because we wanted to move back to the Midwest, and my husband is from Michigan,” McCarthy said. “Traverse City has the most beautiful landscapes, a rich art culture, and the food scene is crazy good.”

Her mother, Karen Imel, and stepfather, Charles Imel, and brothers, Brent and Brian Osterman, still reside in Jackson County.

McCarthy is passionate about charity work, and a portion of the proceeds from her book sales will benefit two organizations: The Boys and Girls Clubs of America and The Humane Society of the United States.

“When I was a child, I attended the Girls Club of Seymour, and it provided me with activities to stay healthy,” McCarthy said. “It also contributed to fostering friendships and produced a better outlook on life.”

McCarthy is currently working on another children’s book, one that will teach readers about different work occupations using each letter of the alphabet.

To purchase “Let’s Go, Milo!” in paperback or Kindle version, visit www.amazon.com and also, McCarthy will have a book signing event at the Jackson County Visitor Center from 4 to 7 p.m. Oct. 4. during Oktoberfest in Seymour.

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What: “Let’s Go, Milo!” book signing event with Valeri McCarthy

When: 4 to 7 p.m. Oct. 4

Where: Jackson County Visitor Center, 100 N. Broadway St., Seymour

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Name: Valeri Osterman McCarthy

Hometown: Seymour

Spouse: Tim McCarthy from Detroit, Michigan. He works with former professional cyclist Greg LeMond, known for winning the Tour de France three times.

Children: Paige (daughter) and Keeton (son)

Hobbies: Valeri is an outdoor enthusiast who enjoys hiking, biking and kayaking on Lake Michigan when she is not writing and illustrating.

Author page: www.amazon.com/Valeri-McCarthy/e/B07VPX8TYF?ref_=dbs_p_ebk_r00_abau_000000

Website: letsgomilo.com


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