Friend Friday

I first met featured illustrator Kaelen Felix when she was a preteen. I was presenting at a children’s literature festival in Missouri and Kaelen’s mom drove her a long way just to meet me! I’m so grateful Kaelen’s stayed in touch over the years and so pleased to share her newest illustration effort here, Freddy The Foster Frog. The author, Carol Gravante, “takes the floor” today to share more about this new book.

What do you do when you are busy hosting lots of foreign exchange students and you feel, deep in your spirit, a God thought asking you to switch gears and adopt? 

You get busy and prepare! And you mentor orphans, eventually adopting two teens.

What do you do when you’re passing by an old lady sitting on the side of the road in her walker and you hear deep in your spirit, “Stop, she has a story?“

You stop and find out what her story is. And you become best friends.

What do you do when you walk with this old lady, named Elinor, every day and then deep in your spirit you hear, “Give your big stuffed frog to Elinor; he’s lonely”? You give Elinor the frog! But you have a sense this can be part of a bigger story. That this particular adoption story could raise money for other adoptions.

You take pictures of Elinor “adopting” the sad and lonely frog, “discarded” by a trash can. Soon after, you hear the Freddy the Foster Frog story drop in your spirit…

Under the inspiration of that quiet voice, you write Freddy’s story in rhyme. You give it to Elinor for her 90th birthday. She loves it. And you think you are done…

What do you do when even more ideas come into your heart?  You ask that small still voice to provide an illustrator and an editor to help you tell the story in the richest way possible…

And that is exactly what happened!

Our illustrator, Kaelen Felix, knew from the age of two that she would be working as an artist. Now specializing in watercolor and colored pencil, Kaelen has honed her craft, focusing her energy on animal illustrations. I found Kaelen in my hometown and she visited me in the home where I grew up. She showed me illustrations that exactly matched my visions for Freddy’s story. I was filled with awe and wonder! 

I met my editor when I sat next to a woman on the plane and she asked to see my story. I shared it with Deborah A. Hoffman, Ph. D. and she embraced her new role as editor, not only moving commas around but showing me that my rhymed fable could be a great fit with Social and Emotional Learning curriculum. On the next leg of my flight, I invited that soft still voice to write the introduction and He did. He verified that it would be used as a healing tool.

Working with Kaelen and Deborah was not the end of my journey with this book. I was also led to create a frog for kids to adopt, just like Elinor did, as part of their experience with this story. I approached Wesley Chapel sewing center and they partnered with me to hold free frog-making classes. These classes brought new friends together to sew for a purpose…

What do you do when you’re given the message to tell a story? You tell it! 

And now you can read Freddy’s story here:

Freddy the Foster Frog Finds a Friendly Family by Carol Gravante Illustrated by Kaelen Felix

Every purchase of this book goes to the Promise Love Foundation to raise funds for families hoping to foster and adopt. 
For more infomation om El4kidscorp and Freddy the Foster Frog series check out

Carol was raised in Kirkwood Missouri and now resides in Tampa, Florida with her husband, Joe and their newly adopted sons. She is also a mother to three older sons and a grandmother to four (I think).
Carol is very devoted to her family and helping to raise funds for adopted and fostered children and very devoted to her faith 

Kaelen Felix is a native Saint Louis, and currently resides there. She is a graduate of Memphis College of Art where has her Bachelors of Fine Arts in Illustration. This is her second published book as the first one is Amazon! For more updates on her next publishing…check out her social media account on her website at

One Response to “Friend Friday”

  1. Carol Gravante

    Thank you Kirby so much for sharing our glory story of how the book came to be. It is being utilized now with adoption counselors and Guardian Ad Litem‘s and with great effect to bring healing. Children who have never wanted to talk to the counselor before are opening up and becoming emotional… reflecting on their trauma moments… crying… Relating deeply to the characters and watching the characters heal through relationships formed with God’s love… the rhyme allows them to “feel” safely and deeply… Which is the beginning of healing…

    Support groups are being formed utilizing this book. As a nonprofit we are always looking for sponsors for the boxes of books given to one of the 450,000 foster children in the United States. There is great need. Also if you want the pattern to help us create the frogs to give away for the children to adopt the pattern link is found on my webpage EL4KIDS.Org