Behind the Scenes with Maria Gianferrari

We’ve got a special treat for animal lovers! Operation Rescue Dog, written by Maria Gianferrari and illustrated by Luisa Uribe, is the story of a young girl, Alma, and the rescue dog named Lulu, who is destined to become part of her family. Read below for insight into Maria’s writing process and the inspiration behind her story!


1. When did you first realize you wanted to be an author?

When I was a kid, I loved writing poems and exploring nature, but I didn’t really realize that being an author could possibly be my profession until I was a young adult.

2. How did you come up with the idea for Operation Rescue Dog?

I’m a dog lover, and I’m in awe and so very grateful to those who devote their lives to saving less fortunate creatures. Operation Rescue Dog is based on the story of my own rescue dog, Becca. She was dumped near a highway in Tennessee, in a common place for abandoning animals. Luckily she was rescued by a couple who was unable to keep her, since they already had many pets of their own. They brought her to a local rescue organization, and I discovered her on Petfinder. She was then transported from Tennessee to New Hampshire on a truck, much like the one Lulu travels on, so that we could adopt her. So many people are involved in dog rescue—from those who initially find the dogs, to those rescue organizations or shelters who take them in, to those who foster and adopt. It takes a metropolis to save a dog!

3. Which part of Operation Rescue Dog was your favorite to write? Why?

The ending: when Alma and Lulu finally meet each other—it’s a story about home, and how people and pets mutually rescue each other.

4. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Reading, gardening, bird-watching and walking in the woods with Becca.

5. What was your favorite book to read as child?

 I loved re-reading Miss Twiggley’s Tree by Dorothea Warren Fox. It’s about a shy woman named Miss Twiggley who lives in a tree with her dog, Puss, and two bears. She saves the day when the nearby town floods by welcoming everyone, two-and four-legged, into her tree-house home. It was my introvert-dream come true—to live with animals in a treehouse of my own!

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