THE STORY BEHIND THE STORY: How To Pick A Pet by Brooke Vitale

When I started this new blog post series, I did it with the idea of sharing the WHY I created my stories, but then I thought…why not share OTHER authors STORY BEHIND “THEIR” STORY? I put the call out and soon I had tons of authors who wanted to share their backstories with my readers. This week my friend and children’s book author, Brooke Vitale, is sharing the WHY she wrote her book, “How To Pick A Pet”. Take it away, Brooke…

How To Pick A Pet by Brooke Vitale

I still remember that day in my junior year of college when I said to a friend, “I wish someone could just pay me to read books,” and she replied, “You know that’s a job, right?

Honestly, no. As amazing as it seems, the idea of what actually went into making a book had never crossed my mind! But once that idea hit . . . well, I was done!

An internship at the University Press led to a graduate degree in publishing from NYU and an internship at Sterling Publishing (now Union Square & Co). Those first days were anything but glamorous. My days were spent mailing back images from thirty-year-old books. But as luck would have it, a job opened in the children’s department. I jumped at the chance and never looked back.

It’s been nearly twenty years since I walked through the doors of my first real job in publishing. Twenty years of learning how the business runs and what makes a truly great book. I’ve moved from Sterling to Penguin to Disney, and finally over to my own company, where I help aspiring authors make their books the best they can possibly be. And every day, I’m continuing to learn.

But about two years ago, something changed. With all those years of making other books great under my belt, and now a mom to two young boys of my own, I found myself teaching my own son how to read, I realized that many of the books out there for early readers just aren’t engaging enough. And many of them aren’t written at the level of a beginning reader. (And I get that, because having written tons of level 1 early readers for publishers before having kids of my own, I know that most people writing them aren’t truly educated in how kids learn to read.) So I started learning again. Learning about phonics, and how kids blend words, and what they are truly capable of when they are beginning readers. And then I started applying that learning to my own books. Which was when Charge Mommy Books was born.

My company has a heavy focus on literacy, as anyone looking at my newest level 1 early reader can see. Charge into Reading: How to Pick a Pet is the tale of a boy on the hunt for the perfect pet. Like many of my books, this one is drawn from a real life experience: taking my kids to the pet store only to have them ask for one of every pet they saw! But How to Pick a Pet is much more than just a story about pets. It also contains seven pages of literacy activities at the end to keep a reader engaged (as do all the books in the series). These are such a hit in my house that it’s not uncommon to hear my four-year-old running around shouting in his little voice, “Can I do the literacy activities?

He absolutely can, and it is my sincerest hope that other kids will love them—and How to Pick a Pet—just as much!

Here is the book’s blurb:

“Today is Tom’s big day: the day he gets to pick a pet of his very own. But as Tom looks around the pet store, he begins to worry: what if he can’t find the right pet? Join in the adventure as Tom meets a bird that’s too loud, a cat that makes him too sneezy, a snake that’s too squeezy, and a dog that’s WAY too big. With so many wrong animals, can Tom ever find his right one?”


Brooke Vitale is a children’s book editor, author, and proud founder of Charge Mommy Books, an independent publisher of playful, high-quality stories that children can really enjoy. She has written over a hundred books, including The Magic Is in You, The Mandalorian: A Clan of Two, Goonies: An Illustrated Classic, and her new Charge Into Reading Early Reader series, featuring Stuck Duck, Bug Hunt, How to Pick a Pet, and the forthcoming I Am Not a Rooster. Brooke spent nearly twenty years as an editor at prominent publishing companies, including Penguin Books for Young Readers and Disney Publishing. She now runs, a website dedicated to helping aspiring authors navigate the publishing and self-publishing industry. For more information on her newest venture and upcoming books, visit or head over to @chargemommybooks on Instagram to see a new piece of a story dropping every day.

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To learn more about Brooke, visit

See the full line of Charge into Reading books and find out what else we’ve got coming at

Instagram: @brooke.vitale@chargemommybooks