Stepanie Rogish is a stay-at-home military mom, who lives in Yokosuka City, Japan. She recently co-authored and published her first children’s book, "Sheepdogs: Meet Our Nation's Warriors" with retired Army Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, a law enforcement consultant and lecturer. The 39-page book’s illustrators were Joey Karwal, whose father and step-mother are Army helicopter pilot veterans.
A former elementary school teacher, Rogish spends her days at the gym, writing, bible study, and volunteering at school. Her husband, an Army Military Police veteran, is a Department of the Navy civilian who currently works on Yokosuka Naval Base. They have two children who have experienced Dad's deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan.
Rogish will be signing her new book at Yokosuka Naval Base’s bazaar April 12 and 13. "Sheepdogs: Meet Our Nation's Warriors" is available via the publisher’s website at: www.sheepdogbook.com
Q: Could you give us brief outline of the book?
A: A "sheepdog" is someone who spends their career/life training and living to protect those around them. They walk out the door every day prepared to lay down their life for others. We illustrate these special people, these warriors, as sheepdogs in the book. The ordinary citizens are sheep being protected by them from the wolf, the bad guy.
Q: What made you write this book?
A: I've always loved children's literature and that you can teach young children just about anything through books. I've always wanted to write but this is my first published book.
We wrote this book for the children of military and law enforcement officers (“sheepdogs”). Our hope is that this helps them understand why their "sheepdog" isn't always home and why they protect people they don't even know. And yes, we address that hard topic of "when the sheepdog never comes home." We also want to "train up" the next generation of sheepdogs. To let these young sheepdogs know it's ok to stand up to the bully and stand up for the underdog.
Q: How did you collaborate with co-author Dave Grossman on the book?
A: My husband's job requires him to deploy to dangerous areas. … He wanted (our then 1-year-old daughter) to understand why he does what he does, just in case he never came home. That is when I knew this needed to be "out there" for kids. I began writing it just for my family. It wasn't until 6 years later that I contacted Dave Grossman and told him my idea and asked what he thought. (I had never met him, but my husband had attended his "Bulletproof Mind" seminar.)
Dave replied to my email and said it was a great idea and he'd be honored! I sent him what I had written and he asked if he could add things, so we became partners. I've had the pleasure of meeting him and attending his seminars, he is a dynamic speaker who is very passionate about what he does. Working with him is very uplifting! Dave and I wrote together, adding and changing many parts, many times. Dave has been teaching adults for many years, I was able to take the content and turn it into "kid language."
Q: How do you think this book contribute to military and law-enforcement kids?
A: I think this book lets our young readers know they are part of a very special family. Not just those in their home, but the larger "warrior" family.
Q: Is this book intended for children to read on their own or with parents?
A: So far, this book has been enjoyed with parents at home. There are discussion questions in the back prompting parents and children to talk about sacrifice and what that means.
Q: How can this book benefit non-military children and/or adult readers?
A: Our target audience are law enforcement and military families, but anyone can enjoy this book. Non-military readers will gain a better understanding of life without the soldier at home, the long hours, days (and) months away from home … to keep everyone safe. Teachers can use this to explain to students these people do what they do.
Q: What is your next book about?
A: My co-author and I are working on another children's book. Since we have a relationship with Delta Defense/US Concealed Carry Association, our next book will be about why civilians choose to carry a concealed weapon. (This is not the title of the book, we don't exactly have a title yet …) This book will be directed more toward civilians or anyone who is interested in concealed carry or keeping children safe when firearms are present in the home. (I know this is not a typical topic in Japan, but it is in the US.)