Meet Jennifer Hart. Born and raised in Las Vegas, Jennifer is an incredibly talented author and illustrator. She has a new book out from her Baxter the Dog Books called Baxter Meets His Monster. We sat down with Jennifer to learn more about her journey— and her little best friends.
Tell us about your inspiration for the Baxter the Dog book series.
I grew up loving to draw. As a very young kid I knew I wanted to create stories, both written and illustrated. It took me well into adulthood to get over the fear of sharing work that was so personal to me. I became a graphic designer first. This ended up serving me well as a self-published author, as there is some cross over in skillset.
But as much as I love design and am grateful for its continued presence in my life, design is about telling others stories. So, three years ago, I decided to start telling my own. Baxter The Dog Books was created from a set of ideals that are important to me; creativity, kindness, and adventure. They’re the things I want to strive to have in my own life and share with others. My hope is that it will make a positive impact on their lives as much as it has impacted mine.
The main character from the series also gets his coloring and namesake from my own real dog, Baxter. A little homage to my buddy. A better picture couldn’t be painted of creativity, kindness, and adventure than that little furbaby.
You were born and raised in Las Vegas. Do you ever do local readings that families can come and enjoy?
Las Vegas will always be a home for me no matter where I end up. These are my people. I enjoy going out into the community and sharing Baxter The Dog’s world with them. I was active doing readings all through Reading Week in March at select schools in the valley.
In 2018, you founded a charity book drive called Book for a Book. Can you tell us more about it?
Through my work with Baxter the Dog Books I am always looking for ways to partner with others to give back. Book for a Book is a book drive I founded in 2018 that benefited The Heart Kids at The Children’s Heart Foundation. My good friend’s daughter has a serious heart condition and this charity has provided support and relief in many ways. Every year during the holidays The Children’s Heart Foundation gives The Heart Kids in the hospital a gift bag to keep their spirits up. They make a huge impact on the families they work with and depend on donations of all kinds to run their programs. Every book purchased in winter of 2018 was also a purchase for a book that was given to a kid at the foundation. Baxter and I delivered 125 books, which was enough for every kid in the Las Vegas chapter to receive a copy of Baxter Goes to Imagination Land, my first book, and its accompanying coloring book. I hope to do more charity events and drives like this in the future.
You have a new book coming out in the series called Baxter Meets His Monster! So exciting! Is there an actual monster in the story?
Thanks! I could not be more excited for this one. As for whether there’s an actual monster in the story? Well, I guess that’s a matter of perspective. Ha! The book is a funny and magical fiction read for ages 3-6. It’s meant to teach kiddos about the power of helping others and forging friendships with people…or monsters of all kinds, despite initial assumptions.
After all, we are all a bit misunderstood, right? My favorite line from the book that really speaks to the message is “Mellie’s size didn’t decide the size of her heart.” It’s up to the reader to decide if Mellie is a monster or not, but my hope is that they find through Baxter’s experience with her, that sometimes monsters aren’t monsters at all.
Baxter Meets His Monster sounds like a it could make a great summer read! How can our readers purchase a copy?
I hope so! Maybe it’ll spark some summer friendships! Ha! Baxter Meets His Monster is two years in the making for me. I’m so glad to share it with all of you. The book and some fun packages including one of my favorites, a crocheted Baxter The Dog plush, can be ordered on baxterthedogbooks.com.
As a gift, I’m offering 20% off just to Las Vegas Baby Magazine readers! Use code LVBABY2020 at checkout. My books are also available on Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com.
Congratulations Jennifer! This is great!