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Children’s author releases third award-winning book

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    Andrea and Kibby pose with her newest book, Kibby and Olive Move to Georgia. This is Andrea’s third book starring Kibby, her miniature Labradoodle. LAUREN MALEK/Staff

Retired special education teacher and two-time International Mom’s Choice Award winner, Andrea Cassell, strikes Mom’s Choice gold again with her newest book, Kibby and Olive Move to Georgia, the third installment in her children’s book series.

Cassell, her husband, Joe, and Kibby relocated from Kansas to Reynolds Lake Oconee in 2019 following her husband’s retirement.

Inspired by her recent move and the experiences of her 8-year-old miniature labradoodle, Kibby, she wrote Kibby and Olive Move to Georgia with Mascot Books. Cassell is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, the Georgia Writer’s Association and the Atlanta Writers Club.

Her long list of achievements includes being a Miami Dolphins cheerleader from 1972-1973, Mrs. Kansas in 1986, a professional singer, an artist, a cookbook author, a television personality and a special educator for 30 years. With the release of her most recent book, she can now add that she’s a three-time winner of the International Mom’s Choice Gold Award.

“I feel really blessed to win this award. Actual moms make the decision, which is an honor,” Cassell said.

Her books are meant to help children relate to someone who is experiencing the same things as they are and understand how to solve their issues. That’s where Kibby comes in handy.

Cassell’s books are described on her website as “children’s life lessons as seen through a dog’s eyes.” Her first book dealt with bullying, her second covered new siblings and now she is teaching children how to handle their first move.

“It’s coming from his voice,” Cassell said. “If Kibby feels that way, it’s okay that I feel that way. The books become real for the kids.”

Her writing creates the opportunity for children to initiate conversations with their parents about subjects that can be difficult for children to verbalize. Cassell says Kibby’s childlike demeanor and outlook on the world helps her advice resonate with her young audiences that are struggling with common childhood issues like bullying, adjusting to new siblings and moving homes.

“These are real life-situations that these kids are dealing with,” said Cassell. “I want to make a difference in their lives.”

Cassell has a special place in her heart for helping those less fortunate. She says parents have told her that they never had a book in their home until she came to visit their child’s school.

“That really got to me,” she said.

She hopes to help more children develop an affinity for reading with her stories.

“I’m not doing this for the money,” Cassell said. “If I don’t make a dime, I could still do this all day.”

“Especially now with COVID, we all need something happy,” Cassell said. “It’s hard work. It’s not easy, but I have to put one foot forward.”

Cassell says she and Kibby miss visiting with children and sharing their stories with the public. She hopes to start taking Kibby to signings and public appearances to meet his fans again after COVID-19 has passed, but for now, she’s selling and signing her books through her website and enjoying quality time with her husband and Kibby.