Author of the Month: Dawn KelseyPublished: March 15, 2012
Flippy and Friends
Dawn Kelsey, lecturer/undergraduate advisor, Communication Studies
A series of children’s books following the shape-shifting adventures of a tadpole, Flippy and Friends began self-publication in 2002. The series includes such titles as Flippy and Toadpole followed by On the Flippy Side, Through Flippy’s Eyes and Flippy Goes on a Road Trip. In the first in the Flippy and Friends trilogy, Flippy becomes everything from “Mighty Mississippi Flippy” to “Chunky Chocolate Chippy Flippy” and “Super Hippy Dippy Flippy.” The hero counts among his friends as the characters named Halimagator and Crawdaddy. The series began on a 2001 cross-country trip with Kelsey and her husband as they exchanged ideas to break the boredom. Later, her husband designed the series hero tadpole, Flippy, and before they knew it, they had assembled their first book. Kelsey recruited a friend to draw the illustrations and found a deal with a nationwide distribution company in 2009. When readers tell her how much Flippy reminds them of successful children’s author Dr. Seuss, she is the first to say he is one of her inspirations. Writing children’s books sensitized her to other children’s authors. “It gives me hope,” she said. “The students in my storytelling class often research the career of Dr. Seuss and learn he was turned down by 28 publishers. When I see the struggle other children’s authors have gone through, it gives me strength.” She encourages her students to make the same commitment to writing that she has.
“Just do it,” she said. “No matter how silly the idea may seem or how unlikely it may seem that you are a children’s author, never doubt the power of your creativity. It may seem doubtful that something as simple as a tadpole could turn into something serious but it can happy. If you don’t try, you’ll never know.” Kelsey won the Distinguished Faculty Advising Award in 2010 and is a product of CSULB where she earned both her Bachelor of Arts degree in 1997 and her Master of Arts in 2000. She served for two years as graduate teaching associate at CSULB before beginning to teach part-time in 2001 and full-time in 2007.