Guest Post: Author Kelly Tills

The author of Meow is Not a Cat, Kelly Tills, talks about storytelling, inspiration and what she hopes readers will take from her latest picture book.

The Many Stories Behind Meow Is Not a Cat

Meow Is Not a Cat tells the story of an off-beat kid. A kid who’s a composite of a lifetime of people who’ve fascinated me.

The best part about being a parent is having a captive audience. I’ve been a storyteller my entire life: animated, loud, and weird. But the satisfaction of seeing my tiny humans hanging on my every word, enraptured with my antics, is unbeatable. Stories are woven into the fabric of our day. We tell stories at breakfast, in the car, after school, at bedtime, in waiting rooms, to calm nerves, to be silly, to express our feelings and to explain difficult ideas. My family’s desire for stories is insatiable, and I love every minute.

This morning’s getting-ready-for-school story began, “When I was little, there was this kid in my class. She had a wide, round face, with freckles and dark black hair. She didn’t talk much, but was really good at drawing horses. One day I asked her about her drawings. She looked at me deadpan and with a robot voice said, ‘I am a cat from outer space. If you touch me, I will explode.’ That’s when I knew we would be friends…”

I hadn’t thought about that girl in decades. But when I was done telling the story, and had moved on to wrestling the kids into their shoes, I realized I know of another kid with a wide, round face and freckles who’d be just as likely to answer a question in that fashion: Meow.

Meow Is Not a Cat tells the story of an off-beat kid. A kid who’s a composite of a lifetime of people who’ve fascinated me. As time passes, I remember more and more people who’ve inspired some aspect of Meow: a look, a nickname, a dance, the literal interpretations, the non-stop energy, and the wild imagination.

Of course, I hadn’t yet realized any of that at the time of writing. What I thought was my inspiration was a trip to the Monkey Forest Sanctuary in Bali. I was traveling with – you guessed it – a fascinating person. In this particular case, a fascinatingly unpredictable person. Our visit to the sanctuary ended with us being chased by a horde of monkeys trying to get our bananas. This wild chase became my first-born’s favorite bedtime story. I told it so many times, each time embellishing it a little more, until it had taken on a life of its own. And thus, Meow was born.

Years later, I quit a cushy career in tech to write children’s books. Despite my series of animal books being published first, Meow was the first story I actually wrote. It evolved beyond just being silly and gained a message: Just let people be themselves.

The way Meow interprets the world is different. It’s a very literal approach to language. But in this story, it’s not Meow who’s made to change, it’s the teacher. She realizes her communication style is the problem, not the child who “isn’t listening.” Thanks to the teacher’s realization, Meow can finally just be.

There’s another way that message plays out in the story. Meow isn’t once gendered in the book. Is Meow a girl? A boy? Gender fluid? No one knows, nor should it matter. Meow simply is.

I’m aware of how frenetic and crazy this story is. You could easily read it and catch none of that and simply be left giggling, “Wait, what? A banana cannon?” Which is Ok. Giggle if you want to. Ponder deeply if you want to. Or run off and google instructions for building your very own banana cannon. Do as you wish. Be who you wish. My only hope is that you enjoy the story.

Title: Meow is Not a Cat | Author: Kelly Tills | Illustrator: Max Saladrigas | Genre: Picture Book | Publisher: FDI Publishing LLC | ISBN: 9781736700488

Book Description: Meow Is Not Cat is a completely goofy story, guaranteed to make kids laugh. With a cynical cat, wild monkeys, butt jokes, and a banana cannon, even pre-readers will love shouting out their favorite parts as you read aloud. Nestled among the laughs is a lesson about how embracing a person’s different way of interpreting the world can lead to surprisingly good results —and bananas, lots of bananas.

Buy the Book:

Amazon

About the Author: Kelly Tills is the creator of her own uniquely shaped family. Kindness, neurodiversity, and potty humor are her jam. She writes silly stories for kids and believes even the smallest hat-tip, in the simplest of books, can teach our kids how to approach the world. Kelly’s children’s stories are perfect to read aloud to your little humans or to have your older kids read to you (hey, let them flex those new reading skills!). Either way, you’ll enjoy the giggles.

For more information, visit:

Author Website | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter

Giveaway: Enter for a chance to win a copy of Meow Is Not a Cat! Five (5) winners receive a copy of the book. Good luck!

Meow Is Not a Cat: Book Giveaway https://widget.gleamjs.io/e.js

Tour Schedule:

Wednesday, April 13, 2022
The Children’s Book Review
A book review of Meow Is Not a Cat


Thursday, April 14, 2022
Books Are Magic Too
A book review of Meow Is Not a Cat

Friday, April 15, 2022
The Fairview Review
A book review of Meow Is Not a Cat


Monday, April 18, 2022
Writer with Wanderlust
An article by the author Kelly Tills


Tuesday, April 19, 2022
A Dream Within a Dream
A book review of Meow Is Not a Cat


Wednesday, April 20, 2022
icefairy’s Treasure Chest
A book review of Meow Is Not a Cat


Thursday, April 21, 2022
Lisa’s Reading
A book review of Meow Is Not a Cat


Friday, April 22, 2022
The Momma Spot
A book review of Meow Is Not a Cat


Monday, April 25, 2022
Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers
An article by the author Kelly Tills

Tuesday, April 26, 2022
Me Two Books
A book review of Meow Is Not a Cat


Wednesday, April 27, 2022
Barbara Ann Mojica
A book review of Meow Is Not a Cat


Thursday, April 28, 2022
Reading Is My Superpower
A book review of Meow Is Not a Cat


Friday, April 29, 2022
Life Is What It’s Called
An interview with Author Kelly Tills

Monday, May 2, 2022
Crafty Moms Share
A book review of Meow Is Not a Cat


Tuesday, May 3, 2022
Lille Punkin’
A book review of Meow Is Not a Cat

Wednesday, May 4, 2022
Ravenz Reviews
A book review of Meow Is Not a Cat

A sincere thank you to the author and publisher for a copy of this book. I reviewed this book in partnership with The Children’s Book Review.

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