KG Karmichael has just published her new book, Breck the Floppy Eared Husky, with illustrator John Rose. Technically, the book is labeled middle grade, which means it's for the twelve-and-under demographic. But if there's anything The Hunger Games and Stargirl have taught us, it's that even the most grown-up grownups can appreciate a young reader's book reveling in individuality and celebrating differences.
Breck the Floppy Eared Husky is about a sled dog named for the Colorado ski town of Breckenridge who lacks the pointy ears most "normal" huskies have. Breck puts up with a lot of shit on account of his strange ears. Then one night, thieves steal all of the huskies at the ranch where Breck lives, but leave Breck behind because of his unsightly ears. Breck's journey to find the other dogs is filled with unlikely friends -- Merlin the Magic Cat and an old yellow Labrador named Skeet, to name a few -- and a whole lot of self-discovery.
"Being so wired with the Internet and television, young kids have a lot of pressure to follow social status and let their uniqueness fall aside," says Karmichael. "Breck sticks to his purpose in life, and doesn't try to be like others."
Nor does Karmichael. The book is the first in a series she's calling The Breck Books; it's her first foray into self-publishing. The second title, slated to be released this month, is The Adventures of Breck and Reykja, which will be followed by Breck and the Beanstalk and Breck and Reykja's Journey to Iceland.
Karmichael's protagonist is inspired by her own dog, a husky named Breck who has big, floppy ears that continually grab the attention of children and adults alike. A portion of the proceeds from book sales will be donated to a dog rescue organization of Karmichael's choosing -- probably not the husky rescue organization that recently sued her, though.
The disgruntled head of a husky rescue organization sued Karmichael in county court over the ownership of her other husky, Reykja, after Karmichael withdrew her support of the organization. After fourteen months of litigation, Karmichael -- represented by attorney Colin Walker with Denver-based law firm Fairfield and Woods -- prevailed. But the organization appealed the decision, and the fight to keep Reykja continues.
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Karmichael has done readings of her book to blind children, and plans to produce a Braille version of Breck. In the meantime, the book is available for Kindle on Amazon; hard ccopies are available at The Book Patch and through Breck's website.