Welcome to Wanda Luthman’s Book Blog. It’s been awhile since I’ve posted, but I have an exciting new book series to share with all of you. Here to explain about the first book in the series, Parmesan Pig, is the author, Ben Barrowman. Take it away, Ben….
The story of Parmesan Pig goes back 6 years. My daughter Jane, who is now an 8-year-old 2nd grader, had a stuffed animal she nicknamed Parmesan Pig back when she was a toddler. In the summer of 2018, our whole family (wife Lauren, son Connor, daughter Jane) were playing on a vacation beach and nicknamed a crab Coconut Crab. And from there, it was on! We came up with about ~30 more food-animal combinations that day. It was so fun that I decided I would put these characters in a story. I wrote through the nights for 3 straight days. But, at the time, that’s all it was, a cute little story for my family.
Two years later, in 2020, my job had an event where we were supposed to share something we made. For some reason, I decided to just reveal this story to my company. The feedback blew me away. Colleagues were adamant that I turn this into a real book. They gave me such a positive response, that I wrote another book, and another, and another. In total I have 5 stories of Parmesan Pig and her friends, in what is now The Parmesan Pig Book Series.
My goal in this children’s book series isn’t just to tell fun rhyming stories, but also to deliver big messages to children that I have always felt were so important to learn at a young age. There are messages of hope and friendship, but also messages to help children who are having a “tough” time for some reason or another. Mental Health and Wellbeing is such a focus in my life. One thing I am open about sharing is my sobriety, now 15 years. I have type-1 diabetes, but I have always said – I have decided to remove alcohol from my life for BOTH physical and mental wellness.
Professionally, I work as an Associate with The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Service Members, Veterans, and their Families’ (SMVF) Technical Assistance Center at Policy Research Associates, Inc. (PRA). I work with Veteran organizations across the country, behavior health specialists, and suicide prevention coordinators, to address the behavioral health needs of military and Veteran families. This profession deals with themes of wellness, mental and behavioral health, and peer support – all of which are core elements throughout The Parmesan Pig Book Series.
I decided that the first of the 5 books in the series, this one titled Parmesan Pig, should be the “Happy” themed book. It is about the many unique ways that happiness can be missing and in turn, happiness can be obtained. In this book you will find implicit themes of happiness, friendship, loyalty, depression, grief, health, compassion, and self-confidence.
Parmesan Pig contains three main characters that are all missing “Happy.” Spaghetti Spider is insatiable, Marshmallow Mouse shows signs of depression, and Taco Turtle is grieving. While each unique character/theme is conveyed to a young reader in appropriate tone and manner, readers are also seeing that a good friend is so important in life. Parmesan Pig is there with helpful support, perspective, and advice.
And then there’s the characters near the end of the book who are “Happy” despite their obstacles. Celery Swan lacks “talent,” Watermelon Whale feels “stress,” Sir Pepper Leopard is not blessed with health, and Pineapple Parrot is still learning more and more. Yet…they are all Happy! I connect very much with Sir Pepper Leopard and wrote a blog about that character within the website www.ParmesanPig.com. That website contains a lot more information on these stories and buy links.
Here are some:
Parmesan Pig also has a presence on Instagram – www.instagram.com/parmesan_pig
Thank you for sharing this awesome series with us, Ben! I love when well-written books also address mental health issues. As most of you know, I have a degree in Mental Health and I work with teens as a High School Guidance Counselor in my day job.
I hope you all enjoyed this post and will check out Ben’s books.
As always, likes, comments, and shares are appreciated.
Stay safe, everyone