Molly and I want to welcome Josie Siler and Howie to our blog today. Josie has written an adorable picture book about Palm Sunday and a little donkey named Howie who’s sad because he thinks his hee-haw is broken.
I asked Josie some questions so you can get to know her and how Howie’s Broken Hee-Haw came into being. Then Molly took over to ask Howie some questions. So read on to learn all about this special pair and get a glimpse of some of the book’s illustrations.
Kathy: Please tell us a little about yourself and how you began writing.
Josie: I grew up in small-town Wisconsin. I’ve traveled the world, but life with chronic illness has brought me back to my childhood home where I’m loving the small-town life. I’ve always enjoyed writing, but never saw it as something I would make a career out of until chronic illness hit. I had a dream of serving the Lord overseas and that’s when I started writing. What began as a newsletter to my prayer team turned into a blog. The blog turned into a way to keep people updated when chronic illness hit and kept me from going overseas as planned. I discovered I loved writing and it snowballed from there. Now I write all kinds of things and God has used my words to spread the message of His love further than my two feet could have ever taken me!
Kathy: Isn’t it amazing how God leads us on paths we could never have imagined, but turn out to be just right for us and bring glory to Him? What was your favorite thing to do as a child?
Josie: This won’t come as a surprise, but I loved to read. I had many all-night reading binges as a tween and teen and have loved books for as long as I can remember. I also loved to climb trees and travel anywhere I could get anyone to take me!
Kathy: books and travel—two of my favorites, too! What were some of your favorite childhood books?
Josie: So many! My favorite picture book was The Muffin Muncher by Stephen Cosgrove. I just loved that muffin munching dragon! I also loved the Orphan Train Trilogy by Jane Peart and the Adventures of the Northland Series by Wisconsin author Lois Walfrid Johnson.
Kathy: I can see you were already interested in travel adventures! What is something not too many people know about you?
Josie: I haven’t shared this with very many people, but I’ve always had a secret dream of being the voice of a cartoon character! I also have my motorcycle license and I’m a huge fan of big trucks.
Kathy: Maybe someday, you’ll get to be the voice of a cartoon character who rides motorcycles! What do you like to do for fun?
Josie: Besides reading? I love to travel and explore new places. I love to shop small towns and photograph beautiful things. I enjoy a good movie and one day I would really like to ride in a hot air balloon.
Kathy: that would sure be an adventure! What was the inspiration for Howie’s Broken Hee-Haw?
Josie: One night when I couldn’t sleep God dropped this idea of a donkey with a broken hee-haw into my head. I wrote the first half of the book on the notes app on my cellphone that night and the next night when I couldn’t sleep again. I don’t think any book will ever come to me as easily as this one did. I feel like it was truly a gift from the Lord as He gave me the idea out of nowhere and words to write. Thank you, God- and insomnia!
Kathy: Wow, that’s amazing! I love how you’ve woven Howie’s story of realizing he’s not broken with the events of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem! What suggestions do you have for parents or grandparents to help children enjoy Howie’s Broken Hee-Haw and understand how unique and special God has made each one of them?
Josie: Kids (and adults) are constantly being told who they should be and that they’re not good enough. Parents can use Howie’s story to help kids see themself as God sees them. It’s so important to understand who we are in Jesus Christ. I encourage adults to speak Biblical truth to the little ones in their life. This will help them develop God-confidence instead of self-confidence! When we know who we are in Christ and that God doesn’t make mistakes, we’ll all be able to walk in the freedom of who God made us to be, broken hee-haws and all.
Molly the Artsy Corgi thinks Howie is the cutest donkey she’s ever seen, and she has some questions for him:
Molly: Howie, are donkeys related to horses?
Howie: Hi Molly! Donkeys and horses are in the same family, but we are a different species. So yes, we’re related but we have a lot of differences.
Molly: We corgis are good herders, so I bet I could herd donkeys really well! How will I find them? Are they all gray like you, Howie?
Howie: Oh no, us donkeys are a colorful bunch. Gray is the most common color, but my friends are also brown, black, white, or even multicolored.
Molly: I never knew that! I’ll have to keep my eyes open for those other colors. What’s your favorite food, Howie?
Howie: I really love fresh carrots for a special treat!
Molly: I love it when Kathy chops carrots and drops some for me. I think we’d get along really well, Howie! Thanks for these websites where we can find out more about donkeys. It has pictures of donkeys of different colors!
Molly: Howie, children may wonder how you got your name. Can you tell us?
Howie: I love this question! Do you want to know a secret? When Josie first wrote her book, I was a girl donkey named Hallie. Josie had lots of people read her book and help her make it the best it could be and one of those smart people reminded Josie that a colt is a male donkey. I’m so happy that mistake was caught because then I got to be Howie! When Josie picked my name, she wanted to keep it short and start with an H so she looked up lots of names. Josie and I both think the meaning of names is important and I’m really glad she picked a good one for me. Howie means “heart brave.” I really needed a brave heart to do what Jesus asked me to do!
Molly: How wonderful that your name means “heart brave.” But sometimes you look a little lonely and sad in the pictures. How did Jesus help you feel special and brave enough to help Him?
Howie: I love Jesus! Before I met Him, I felt like I was broken and that I wasn’t good for anything. But then Jesus picked me out of all the other donkeys and said that He needed ME! I felt so special because Jesus saw me. He told me that I wasn’t broken and that my Hee-Haw, Hee-Ha-La-La-Lay-Lu-Ya is special and that I was made to praise Him. I finally understood that I was made on purpose and that I have a great purpose in life. You’re special too, Molly. Never forget how important you are to Jesus. He loves you so much!
Molly: You’re right, Howie. Jesus is so wonderful! Sometimes when we’ve done something we shouldn’t or have trouble feeling special, it’s so good to remember He loves us! Your Hee-Haw was just right to sing Hallelujah to Jesus!
Let’s head back now to to my interview with Josie to find out where readers can get their very own copy of Howie’s Broken Hee-Haw!
Kathy: Josie, children will love to snuggle up to hear and look at the pictures in Howie’s Broken Hee-Haw. Can you tell us where we can find this wonderful picture book?
Josie: Of course! You can find my book lots of places. Your local bookstore might have it. If not, you can find it online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Christianbook, Walmart, and if it’s sold out some places, you can always get it right from my publisher, End Game Press. I have a list of places with links on Howie’s page on my website. Come visit us at
Molly and I want to thank Josie and Howie for visiting with us today. We enjoyed getting to know you and hearing all about Howie’s Broken Hee-Haw!
Thanks so much for having us. We both had so much fun with you and Molly!