This is my friend Brooke. We met while playing Navajo softball when we were 11 years old, the same year our All-Stars coach, Mr. Pierozzi, nicknamed me Kathryn the Grape​ because I wore purple all the time. Brooke and I have been friends for three decades. We lived together during college and traveled Europe when we graduated from SDSU. We’ve been there for each other through every season of our lives, including motherhood.

A seasoned and award-winning educator, Brooke is a reading specialist in the La Mesa Spring Valley School District. As an author and publisher, I sought Brooke’s assistance for my book series since the very beginning. In fact, her classroom was the first author visit I ever made (over nine years ago).

One day while at the park with our sons about six years ago, I was talking with Brooke about the affirmations I was teaching. Brooke wrote on a napkin, “Just bee you,” and drew a bumblebee next to her words. In that moment I was channeled with an idea and added Brooke to the story for Kathryn the Grape’s Unique Compass (book five in the series).

I had my illustrator create “Brookie Bee” as a swimming bumble bee because Brooke was a competitive swimmer when we were growing up and her personalized license plate on her Jetta during high school was SWIMJET. I also created her character to wear lipstick because everyone who knows Brooke knows her lipstick is always on point.

Brooke Bee’s character teaches us about the importance of doing what we are uniquely gifted to do — like how bumble bees help pollinate the world. Every detail in every book has tremendous purpose and many people I love and admire are honored as characters in the series. Brooke, aka “Brookie Bee,” is one of them.

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